By: Mitchell Breuer
Two months. Eight days.
That is the amount that separates the last ARCA Menards Series East race at Toledo Speedway, and Friday’s event at Dover International Speedway.
For some drivers in the field, they hadn’t raced since that June afternoon. This includes Rev Racing’s, Nick Sanchez, who currently sits third in the standings after two top-five’s to start the season.
He was poised to have a strong run, ultimately succumbing to mechanical issues en route to a 16th-place finish. While it’s a bummer during a spread campaign, it should not get the 19-year-old down as he is already used to waiting to race after only making three starts last year in the East.
“For the past two or three years, I’ve been fully committed to racing and, I’ve had some long breaks in the season, so it’s nothing new to me,” Sanchez said in a Zoom media session Wednesday. “I always say drivers don’t forget it and jump right back into like you never stopped.”
While Sanchez is not alone in being without a lot of track time since Toledo, there were many drivers on Friday’s entry list that have been competing in other levels of the ARCA Racing Series.
This includes Max McLaughlin, who has competed in three ARCA Menards Series races since June. Even though he finished fourth, he did Although, he does not see this as much of an advantage heading into the “Monster Mile” initially.
“I don’t think it is going to have any advantage,” McLaughlin said. “Biggest reason is that Ty Gibbs is racing three times as much, even Sam Mayer, they have raced more than I have. They have basically run all the events. There is a lot of drivers that have done the same thing we have, if anything we’ve raced less.”
Speaking of Gibbs, many including McLaughlin, believe he will continue to be one of the biggest threats to win. on Friday.
This should not come as a surprise, as the grandson of Joe Gibbs has been on a tear in 2020, winning four of the 15 ARCA events he has entered, and only finishing outside the top-five in two of those starts.He led 104 laps before crashing out of the event on Friday.
“It’s really tough to compete with the 18,” McLaughlin said. “They really have it firing on all cylinders, every week. If you go up and run with those guys, you’re doing something right.”
Despite the success of Gibbs though, he is not be the points leader.That honor belongs to GMS Racing’s Sam Mayer, who has been on a roll as well, winning three of his last four starts in the ARCA. However, it is important to note Mayer is still recovering from a broken wrist that he sustained in a TransAm crash at Road America earlier this month.