The 2021 ARCA Menards Series East season begins with a few givens. One being the fact that the East Series schedule starts at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway for the eighth consecutive year as part of the track’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
Another is that Sam Mayer, who dominated last year’s shortened East season on the way to his second consecutive series title, will not make it three in a row. The defending champion has graduated to partial ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedules.
Which means the ARCA Menards Series East 2021 title race is wide-open. Mayer set the tone last season when he won the opener at New Smyrna. Everyone in the field for this year’s opener on Monday, Feb. 8, is looking to do the same.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Mayer won last season’s opener at New Smyrna, as well as the last two East Series championships, in Maury Gallagher’s No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet.
That ride now belongs to Jack Wood, the 20-year-old from Loomis, California, who arrives in the ARCA Menards Series East after a couple seasons competing for his family-owned Velocity Racing team.
Wood is expected to be among the East Series title contenders in 2021. The same goes for Taylor Gray, the 15-year-old who will run the full East Series schedule for David Gilliland Racing.
Gray earned his first win on the ARCA Menards Series platform last season when he took the victory in the October West Series race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California. The Denver, North Carolina, native now has a series championship on the short list of goals.
Also beginning his 2021 ARCA Menards Series East title run at New Smyrna is Mason Diaz for for Visconti Motorsports. The 20-year-old from Manassas, Virginia notched three top-10 victories as an East Series rookie last season driving for Venturini Motorsports.
Another driver looking to challenge for the 2021 East title beginning at New Smyrna is 17-year-old Daniel Dye, the DeLand, Florida, native driving for Ben Kennedy Racing.
Other notables in the field for the East Series opener at New Smyrna include Carson Kvapil and Rajah Caruth. Kvapil, the son of 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil, will make his ARCA Menards debut at the half-mile banked oval and will team with fellow Wisconsinite Parker Retzlaff under supervision of team owner Bruce Cook.
Caruth also will make his series debut at New Smyrna. The 17-year-old joined the NASCAR Drive 4 Diversity program last season and ran late models throughout the southeast. He will drive the No. 6 Toyota fielded by Rev Racing and team owner Max Siegel.
Ohio native Brandon Oakley is returning to the series, as well, in a family-owned Toyota. Sammy Smith will wheel the familiar No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota that Ty Gibbs will run nationally in the ARCA Menards Series.
The complete entry list for Monday’s race at New Smyrna can be found here.
|RACE||Jeep Beach 175|
|PLACE||New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida|
|DATE||Monday, Feb. 8, 2021|
|TIME||7:40 p.m. ET|
|TV/LIVE STREAM||TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold (live)|
|TRACK LAYOUT||0.480-mile paved oval|
|EVENT SCHEDULE||Monday, Feb. 8: Garage opens at 7:45 a.m.; Practice at 3 p.m.; Qualifying at 6 p.m.; Race at 7:40 p.m. (All times ET)|
|@ARCA_Racing, @NASCARRoots, @newsmyrnaspdwy, @_TrackPass|
CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Jeep Beach 175 is limited to 26 plus provisional positions. This event will be run under the 2021 ARCA Menards Series East rules, procedures, regulations and specifications.
QUALIFYING: Starting positions will be set by two consecutive lap qualifying (6 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 8). No adjustments or repairs may be made on cars after taking the green flag at the start/finish line. All cars must make a qualifying attempt, and all drivers must practice before they can qualify.
RACE PIT STOP: All cars will be required to make at least one pit stop. Adding or moving tires to or from pit box once the race has started is prohibited. The modified live pit stop procedure is in place for this event. There will be a competition caution period at or near the halfway point of the race.
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Per ARCA Rulebook, maximum number of tires allowed in pit box for use in race is four (4). The maximum tire purchase at track for the event is as follows: four tires for practice, an additional eight tires for qualifying and race.