Kansas Speedway is the only track that will host the ARCA Menards Series twice this season as 20 drivers take part in the Dutch Boy 150 on Saturday May 14.
The Dutch Boy 150 will be an early test for ARCA’s top championship contenders who are expected to enter this race on par. All without Amber Balcaen have experience on this 1.5 mile track and are confident they can win. Factor in Corey Heim, who won the 2020 season finale there, and this 100-lap race should be the antithesis of last year’s iteration when Ty Gibbs led every lap en route to victory.
Among those who should clash? The top two drivers in the ARCA standings, Rev Racing teammates Rajah Caruth and Nick Sanchez. Caruth leads Sanchez by four points in the battle for the season championship.
Caruth has competed at Kansas before, finishing ninth, one round later, in the 2021 ARCA season finale.
“For Kansas, it’s hard to go with last year’s end result because so much is out of my control,” Caruth said. Front stretch. “As long as I do what I am supposed to do on the circuit and do my preparation, then everything should be fine in the race. I don’t expect anything worse than a top three.
Matt Bucher serves as both Rev’s competition manager and Sanchez’s team manager. Bucher echoed Caruth’s expectations.
“It’s our first 1.5-mile track of the year and it sets the tone for the bigger, more high-profile races,” Bucher said. Front stretch. “Nick raced there twice last year, and Rajah raced there at the end of the year.
“We knew Rajah was going to step up to run full time with us this year, so we brought him to Kansas last year. I don’t think his final performance, number-wise, was indicative of where it raced I felt like it was in the top five last year as well We’re excited to start the two plate races are wild cards so to eliminate them so that we can race in places where we have a bit more control over the outcome [is good for us].”
Indeed, after several early weeks off and two Lady Luck-influenced pack races, ARCA’s full-time teams are eager to get down to the meat of the schedule.
“Once we get to Kansas, we’re pretty locked in until we get to the end of the season in October,” Bucher continued. “Once we start here it will be a drag until the end of the year. We have prepared our cars and prepared our backup cars to prepare for where we will go. We have a pretty good jump on things. We know our competitors aren’t sitting around waiting for everyone to improve, so we’ve been working to keep bringing better parts to the track as well.
Although Caruth is the points leader, Sanchez is the hottest driver entering the race from Kansas. Along with winning the last ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sanchez earned his first career ARCA win at Kansas in the 2021 season finale.
“Obviously I want to win all the races,” Sanchez said. Front stretch. “No matter what track we are on, I treat every track the same with the same preparation. Obviously, Rev Racing excels at 1.5-mile tracks, so that’s good.
If Sanchez wins, he will become the third driver to win multiple ARCA races at Kansas, after Frank Kimmel and Alex Bowman.
“Go to Kansas and Charlotte [Motor Speedway] are huge because I feel like the next two races are our tracks,” Sanchez Told Racing News Now. “I expect my team and I to win. I think Kansas will be our first race with Chevy improving our performance, touching up my car. I’m really excited to go there, to see everything that they did and put him on the right track.
Meanwhile, Daniel Dye is second in points, but he is suspended from ARCA competition indefinitely. A GMS Racing spokesperson confirmed Front stretch that Dye is still with the team and they will be fielding his #43 Chevy in Saturday’s race. As of press time, no acting pilot has been announced. It’s worth noting that GMS’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Grant Finallyger and Jack Wood have ARCA experience.
Another team to watch is Kyle Busch Motorsports, where driver Drew Dollar is set for his penultimate ARCA start this season. Dollar has two top fives and five top 10s in five career ARCA starts at Kansas.
“You’re always learning and improving in Kansas,” Dollar said. Front stretch. “Kansas was a track where I had a lot of speed right away, and I always liked the way we raced there…I’m constantly improving there. Now with Kyle Busch Motorsports it’s a different program for me. I’m excited to use my experience to keep racing well.
“I know we will be good there. It is a top program in ARCA. I hope to seal the deal there, that’s for sure.
Kimmel Racing will also find themselves with a unique opportunity to be competitive. After Scott Melton suffered a nasty injury due to an accident in Talladega, Melton graciously allowed Will Kimmel to drive Toyota #69, a car owned by Melton.
“I’m extremely grateful, at this point, because in my ARCA career, no one has given me the opportunity to walk into this type of equipment and say, treat it like your own,” Kimmel Told ARCA race. “Go race the car and don’t worry. That’s exactly what Scott did… for him just to roll the car and race, it’s super cool. At the same time, the situation sucks, but he wants to race and he wants to see his car on the circuit. I will do my best and hope to have a good race with it.
Kimmel has two top 10 finishes in six ARCA starts at Kansas, and he’s looking forward to the Dutch Boy 150.
The ARCA race at Kansas Speedway takes place Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.
ARCA entry list: 2022 Dutch Boy 150
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