ARCA Menards Series Preview-Nashville

The ARCA Menards Series continues their 2019 season this Saturday night at the famed Nashville Fairgrounds.

It will be just the fourth visit for the ARCA Menards Series drivers at the Fairgrounds since returning in 2015.

Currently, 20 cars are on entered in the preliminary entry list.

After visiting the 2.66-mile superspeedway last weekend at Talladega, the ARCA drivers will have to adjust their skills for the .596-mile paved track located in Nashville, Tennessee.

The series will see its sixth different winner at the track, as none of its previous winners are entered. Those previous winners include Zane Smith in 2018, Chad Finley in 2017, Josh Williams in 2016, Grant Enfinger in 2015 and the first winner David Green way back in 1992.

Here are a few drivers fans should keep an eye on Saturday night during the General Tire Music City 200.

1.Ty Gibbs – Gibbs has not competed at the Fairgrounds in an ARCA car but does have a plethora of short track series starts. In just two ARCA starts beginning with his first outing this year at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, he finished second. Then, at Salem Speedway, Gibbs finished sixth after starting third. The No. 18 team owned by Coy Gibbs and driver Ty Gibbs will look to carry the momentum over to this weekend after Riley Herbst earned a third-place finish previously at Talladega.

2. Michael Self – Speaking of momentum, Self is now the ARCA Menards Series points leader after his top-five finish this past weekend at Talladega. Self has just one start here coming last year, where the Venturini driver finished fourth after starting 10th and leading seven laps.

“I’ve got a lot of experience on short tracks, and have been fortunate to win a handful of them between the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and now ARCA, but they definitely haven’t been the tracks I prefer going to since joining the ARCA Menards Series,” Self says. “I’ve always just enjoyed the speedways more, but with the way we ran at Pensacola and Five Flags Speedway, I’m excited to get to Nashville this weekend, and every track from here on out, really. It’s a lot of fun when a team has the chemistry that I feel this 25 team has, and it really makes every race weekend enjoyable, no matter what type of track we’re going to.”

3. Chandler Smith – Like Self, Smith only has one start at the Fairgrounds. However, looking back, it’s could’ve, would’ve, should’ve for Chandler and the Venturini team. Quite possibly one of the hottest prospects on the racing circuit right now and a potential Cup Series driver in the future, Smith qualified on the pole and led 51 laps in last year’s race to end up finishing fifth. While not being able to compete at Talladega due to age restrictions, he has been on a tear in the ARCA Menards Series. In just two starts, Smith has finished fourth twice and sat on the pole at Five Flags in Pensacola, Florida. The young 16-year-old won twice last year (Madison, Salem) and led a whopping 763 laps throughout the 2018 ARCA season.

4. Corey Heim – The Chad Bryant Racing driver has just one start at Nashville, coming in the popular CARS Super Late Model Tour. Heim, driving for the family-owned team, finished 11th. Heim does have two ARCA starts this season with finishes of fifth at Five Flags and Salem.

5. Carson Hocevar – Hocevar will be making just his sixth ARCA start of his young career this weekend in Nashville. His best finish so far in the 2019 season was third at Salem after starting on the pole. Hocevar was out front in the lead for 26 laps before winding up third after the rain-shortened race. Hocevar is part of the KBR development program where he drives the No. 28 Chevrolet.

Who To Keep An Eye On

1.Christian Eckes – After a miserable last few weeks, Eckes will be looking for a reset this Saturday night. The Venturini driver has made three starts with a best finish of third in 2017. Eckes also led 28 laps in that race as well.

“The great thing about Nashville is it’s unique, and it’s very raceable,” he said. “You can move all around the race track. There are different grooves and a lot of ways to find speed. That’s why it’s so popular. I’m really excited to hopefully make some Nashville magic this weekend in my JBL Audio Camry.”

2. Bret Holmes – Like Eckes, Holmes has also made three ARCA starts at Nashville. His best finish came in the 2016 race after starting second. Holmes and the No. 23 team finished 10th in last year’s race. The Munford, Alabama driver led six laps in the 2015 race. Keep an eye on Holmes and the family owned team.

Notable

Lexi Gay – Lexie will be making her ARCA debut for the Empire Racing Group. She has made some noise early on in her career in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and in the Limited Late Models. To note, Empire Racing is part of the Richard Petty Motorsports Driver Development program.

It will be an all day event per usual in the ARCA Menards Series.

The one and only practice session will occur at 2:15 p.m. ET live on ARCAracing.com. Qualifying is slated for 5:15 p.m. ET, also live on ARCAracing.com.

The General Tire Music City 200 will take place Saturday night and can be seen live on MAVTV at 9:00 p.m. ET and 8:00 p.m. Central.

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