A few weeks after the tease that was the ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona International Speedway, the real deal arrives Saturday, Feb. 13.
The tradition of starting the ARCA Menards Series season at the World Center of Racing continues for the 42nd consecutive year with the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire. But for the first time, the season-opener in 2021 will run the day before the Daytona 500 as part of a Saturday doubleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Per usual, the season-opener at Daytona represents the debuts for multiple drivers in new rides, with many more running it back in the same cars they raced last season. And several are poised to make runs at the 2021 ARCA Menards Series championship.
Fans will be able to attend Saturday’s race at Daytona (buy tickets) and can watch the race live on FS1 starting at 1:30 p.m. ET.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Of the drivers who finished in the top five in last season’s ARCA Menards Series standings, three are entered in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona. That does not include the driver of the car that finished second to Bret Holmes for last year’s title.
The No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota that Michael Self wheeled last season will feature 19-year-old Gracie Trotter in the driver’s seat at Daytona with a Mobil 1 partnership.
Trotter became the first female to win a race on the ARCA Menards platform when she took the checkered flag at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last September driving for Bill McAnally Racing in the ARCA Menards Series West. In 2021, she will split time in VMS’ No. 25 and No. 15 in the ARCA Menards Series.
Holmes, meanwhile, is back in his family-owned No. 23 Southern States Bank Chevrolet for the opener at Daytona. The defending ARCA Menards Series champ and Sam Mayer, the two-time defending East Series champ, will split time in that car throughout the 2021 season.
The driver who finished fourth in last season’s standings, Drew Dollar, is entered in the Daytona race in the familiar No. 15 Sunbelt Rentals Toyota for VMS. He and Trotter are scheduled to split time in that car this year.
Some consider the driver who finished fifth in last year’s standings as the favorite to win the 2021 ARCA Menards Series title. Ty Gibbs will begin his first full AMS season at Daytona in the No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota after leading a series-high 969 laps last season despite running just 16 of the 20 races.
Another driver beginning a championship bid at Daytona is Corey Heim, whom VMS has pinned with a full ARCA Menards Series schedule in the No. 20 JBL Toyota. Heim earned his first AMS win in last season’s finale at Kansas Speedway driving the same car.
|RACE||Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire|
|PLACE||Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida|
|DATE||Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021|
|TIME||1:30 p.m. ET|
|TV/LIVE STREAM||FS1 / Fox Sports Go|
|TRACK LAYOUT||2.5-mile superspeedway|
|EVENT SCHEDULE||Saturday, Feb. 13: Garage opens at 6 a.m.; Qualifying at 8:30 a.m.; Race at 1:30 p.m. (All times ET)|
|@ARCA_Racing, @NASCARRoots, @daytona|
CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is limited to 34 plus provisional positions. This event will be run under the 2021 ARCA Menards Series rules, procedures, regulations and specifications.
QUALIFYING: Qualifying occurs in timed sessions by group; groups determined by random draw. The post-qualifying impound procedure is in effect.
RACE PIT STOP: Modified live pit stop procedure. There will be a competition caution 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 eight (8). No adding or removing tires to or from pit box once race has started.