The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards enters the second half of its 2018 season with Thursday’s Scott 150 at Chicagoland Speedway, moved up from its September date last year. It’s the seventh round of nine in this year’s General Tire Superspeedway Challenge, the championship-within-a-championship held on tracks a mile or longer, and will see stock car history as Venturini Motorsports becomes the first race team to enter three female drivers in the same national-level event.
28 drivers are entered for the event, which will see practice, qualifying, and the race itself all in the same day. Many of the sport’s future stars will be taking part, including 2018 winners Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, and Michael Self, but keep an eye on these five drivers to shape Thursday’s action:
Back in the ARCA points lead, Creed has grown his advantage over MDM Motorsports teammate Zane Smith to a solid 150 points with five consecutive finishes of third or better in the last five races. After leading laps in all but two races this season, the off-road convert finally took his first stock car victory at Michigan on June 8. Now, he’ll look to reverse his results from the series’ Chicagoland stop last year, as he finished last in the 31-car field due to an early incident in his Davey Allison throwback-themed car.
Since qualifying on the pole for the season-opening race at Daytona, Decker has become a regular presence in the front half of the field for Venturini Motorsports, placing fifth in the opener and adding three more top-10s at Toledo, Pocono, and Madison. At the halfway point of the season, that puts her seventh in the standings, well within reach of Travis Braden for a spot in the top five; she sits only 60 points back of the RFMS Racing driver, and only 20 more back of MDM Motorsports’ Chase Purdy.
Breidinger’s first two starts with Venturini Motorsports came earlier this month at Madison and Gateway, and she proved in both cases that she’s a capable young talent with plenty of potential. In Wisconsin, she qualified 13th and scored a top-10 in her first ARCA start; at Gateway, she started 15th and finished a solid 12th. Breidinger, USAC’s winningest female driver, will return her focus to that series after this event as she competes in the full Silver Crown Sprint Car schedule in 2018.
Munter’s two top-10s so far this year came in her first and most recent starts of the season, as she placed eighth at Daytona and ninth at Michigan. Focusing so far only on tracks of a mile and a half or larger, the Daytona result was the first top-10 of her career, while the Michigan finish was a strong rebound after lapped results at Talladega and Charlotte and a crash-induced DNF at Pocono. Chicagoland will be her sixth of eight scheduled races for Venturini Motorsports this season.
Fun fact: Holmes is the only driver entered in this week’s event that finished in the top 10 at Chicagoland last year. While that finish was only 10th place, it was one of 12 top-10 finishes in the 20 starts that comprised his first full ARCA season. This year, Holmes ranks eighth in points, slightly below his final 2017 rank of sixth but with five top-10s in the first half of the season. He also led his first laps in almost two years when he spent six laps at the front of the pack at Talladega in April.