Mandy Chick has a lot of reasons to be excited.
The 20-year-old native of DeSoto, Kansas, is set to make her ARCA Menards Series debut this Friday evening in the Reese’s 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. She’ll do so aboard the No. 74 Toyota fielded by her family team that is led by her father, Steve Chick Jr.
“I just can’t even put it into words. It’s so surreal,” Chick said about her impending ARCA Menards Series debut. “I started racing when I was 6 years old, so about 14, almost 15 years ago. I’ve been working so hard to break into NASCAR, and so now we’re doing companion races with the Trucks and all of that. It’s so surreal to me and hasn’t quite hit yet, but I am so excited.”
The Chick family is hardly new to motorsports. The elder Chick fielded a part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry for three seasons from 2002-04 for drivers Aaron Daniels and Eric Jones.
However, for the last 15 years, the focus has been on Mandy Chick, who has slowly been working her way toward her ARCA Menards Series debut this Friday.
After racing Late Models for the last seven years, the Chick family decided it was time for Mandy Chick to take the next step and advance into the ARCA Menards Series this season.
“We’ve taken a long holding period on Late Models just to learn about the cars,” Chick said. “I personally have been able to learn about the cars and work on them hands on since I was 12 or 13, and that’s something I’m really passionate about.”
The family evaluated their options for much of the year before ultimately deciding to purchase equipment from Visconti Motorsports to launch their own ARCA Menards Series program.
“We really got to the point where ARCA started becoming a feasible thing for us,” said Chick, who hasn’t raced anything since last October while her family searched for the right opportunity to enter ARCA competition. “We started looking this offseason and evaluating our program and that we really wanted to step up. We happened to be scrolling across Facebook and talking to some people who are in the NASCAR and ARCA worlds and came across John Visconti’s equipment as we were looking for ARCA cars.”
While Friday will mark Chick’s first ARCA Menards Series start, it won’t be her first start at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. She’s raced a Late Model at the 0.686-mile oval multiple times during her career, which she believes will be a big benefit for her and her team leading into Friday’s race.
“Being able to take that familiar knowledge from Late Models, even though it’s a little bit different, there is a lot more horsepower in the ARCA cars and a lot heavier cars, I can kind of take the prior knowledge that I have and experience from IRP and apply it to this weekend,” Chick said. “For me, it’s just be consistent every time we get out on the track and get used to the car.
“I haven’t driven it (the car) other than a quick drive around my neighborhood, so it’s going to be an interesting weekend learning, but I have no concerns whatsoever.”
Friday’s race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park is the first of a handful of ARCA events Chick hopes to compete in this year. She’s planning to compete in the Spreacher 150 at The Milwaukee Mile on Aug. 28, as well as possibly the Herr’s Snacks 200 at Indiana’s Salem Speedway and the Shore Lunch 200 at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway.
“We are planning on, after this, doing Milwaukee in August and then we’ll do either Salem or Toledo or both,” Chick said. “We would love to be able to race Kansas Speedway. We don’t have the correct engine right now. That’s my home track. We’re 20 minutes from there right now. That’s where our race shop is. We’ll shoot for Kansas Speedway next spring and do a lot heavier of a schedule next year and maybe try to hit the Daytona test to get our superspeedway license.”
Dylan Fetcho unites with Mark Noble for ARCA debut
Speaking of debuts, Dylan Fetcho is another driver slated to make his ARCA Menards Series debut this Friday at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Fetcho regularly races Late Models across the Southeast, having earned victories this year at South Alabama Speedway in Opp, Alabama, and at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
The opportunity to make his ARCA Menards Series debut comes thanks to a partnership with team owner Mark Noble, who made his debut on the ARCA platform as a car owner earlier this year at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Noble’s No. 95 debuted in the ARCA Menards Series East Music City 200 on May 7, with Tanner Arms wheeling the car to a sixth-place finish.
Ironically, on the same night that Noble’s team made its ARCA platform debut, Fetcho visited Victory Lane at Nashville following a victory in a 100-lap Pro Late Model event.
Now the 21-year-old will shift gears as he focuses on his ARCA Menards Series debut this Friday during the Reese’s 200.
Sammy Smith leads Sioux Chief Showdown entering Reese’s 200
Five races into the 10-race Sioux Chief Showdown, and Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Sammy Smith finds himself atop the standings.
For the unfamiliar, the Sioux Chief Showdown is a series within the ARCA Menards Series that offers drivers who might not be old enough to race at bigger ovals a chance to compete for a championship against drivers who are. A full breakdown of the Sioux Chief Showdown is available here.
Entering Friday’s Reese’s 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Smith has scored 210 points in the first five races. His point total includes a pair of victories at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway and Minnesota’s Elko Speedway.
He holds an 18-point edge on David Gilliland Racing’s Taylor Gray, who also has two victories during the Sioux Chief Showdown events at Phoenix Raceway in March and in the most recent Sioux Chief Showdown event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Venturini Motorsports driver Jesse Love is next in the standings, 19 points behind Smith. ARCA Menards Series championship leader and Rev Racing driver Rajah Caruth is fourth in the Sioux Chief Showdown standings, followed by GMS Racing’s Daniel Dye.
Nick Sanchez, Toni Breidinger, Greg Van Alst, Amber Balcaen and Brad Smith are sixth through 10th, respectively.
- Chandler Smith, who happens to be the most recent ARCA winner at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2020, is making his return to ARCA competition Friday night. He’ll pilot the No. 15 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports as a warmup for the first race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs later Friday evening.
- Connor Mosack will look to continue his strong season in ARCA Menards Series competition that has seen him finish in the top 10 in each of his five starts this season. He has a best finish of third this year and is coming off a sixth-place effort at Pocono Raceway last weekend.
- Leading into Friday’s Reese’s 200, multiple ARCA Menards Series competitors will take part in the Reese’s Celebrity Pro-Am Go-Kart Challenge at Speedway Indoor Karting on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. ET. They include Caruth, Sanchez, Christian Rose, Van Alst, Mamba Smith, Breidinger and Brayton Laster, as well as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors Christian Eckes and Jack Wood.