TOLEDO, Ohio (Oct. 10, 2017) -- ARCA's SCOTT Rookie of the Year battle is going to go right down to the wire in the Kansas 150 season finale at Kansas Speedway Oct. 20. For rookie Riley Herbst, who's right in the middle of it, it's business as usual headed to Kansas, another track he's never been to.
"Yeah, it is what it is," said Herbst. "We're going to do what we do every week…try to win the race. There is nothing we're going to do differently."
Herbst, 18, of course hopes that will be enough. If he wins the race, it certainly should be to procure the 2017 SCOTT Rookie of the Year title. The Las Vegas, Nevada driver trails leader Gus Dean by just two points. Winning the race would also bode well for Herbst in the national championship picture. Herbst, who drives the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink-UFC Gym Toyota, is also fifth in national championship standings, 70 points behind fourth-place Dean and 155 behind third-place Shane Lee. Both are within reach.
Meanwhile, Dean, driver of the No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota, has every intention to hold onto his slim lead.
"We're putting a lot of effort into the Kansas car…putting our eggs in one basket," said Dean. "I'm doing everything I can on my end on the simulator and watching video."
Dean's Win-Tron Racing team is building a brand new car for Kansas.
"All the guys in the shop are working hard on a new mile-and-half car. They're going over it with a fine-tooth comb to find every advantage we can to see if we can get a little quicker than the last two races," added the Bluffton, S.C. driver.
Both Dean and Herbst are former winners on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour. Dean won at Talladega Superspeedway in 2016. Herbst won earlier this season at Pocono Raceway.
Herbst says he's going to spend most of his time in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) shop to help get ready for Kansas.
"That's my plan…to be in the shop as much as I can. At this point, all my focus in on Kansas."
Herbst, in his first year on the ARCA tour, has had to focus as best as he could all year long, despite having never raced on most of the tracks.
"I learned a lot this year…a lot. From the beginning to the end, it's been a big growth period.
"I’m so proud of these JGR guys. They built this team from the ground up. My guys have been working endless hours. I believe in them and I know they believe in me. They act like this ARCA team is their fourth Cup team…this is just the beginning for this 18 team."
Dean is also in a close battle with Shane Lee for the third position in national championship points; but the biggest prize coming out of Kansas is clearly the SCOTT Rookie of the Year title.
"Winning the SCOTT Rookie of the Year is very important to me and the whole team," Dean said. "We're pulling out all the stops. I'm mean we're competing with Joe Gibbs Racing for Rookie of the Year…we have to come with all we got. The goal is to win the race. If we do that, we win the SCOTT Rookie title. It's going to be a big weekend for Win-Tron and our partners at GREE."
Kansas ARCA 150 kicks off Triple-Header Weekend
The Kansas 150 also serves as the show-opener for big triple-header weekend of racing to include the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 Saturday and the Monster Energy Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 Sunday.
The Kansas 150 marks the 17th consecutive ARCA race at Kansas since the series debuted on the 1.5-mile superspeedway in 2001 – Jason Jarrett the inaugural winner. Other ARCA winners at Kansas include Frank Kimmel, Shelby Howard, Ryan Hemphill, Chad Blount, Scott Lagasse, Jr., Scott Speed, Parker Kligerman, Ty Dillon, Alex Bowman, Spencer Gallagher, Mason Mitchell and Chase Briscoe.
Practice for the Kansas 150 is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 2:30 p.m. The 17th Kansas ARCA 150 is scheduled to get the green flag at 7:47 Friday night, with live coverage on FS2. ARCAracing.com will also feature Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat of all on-track activities.