Wednesday, September 13, 2023

ARCA: Monroe retakes LASTCAR championship lead as top three ARCA points leaders fall out

PHOTO: Michael Reno Johnson

by Ben Schneider Staff Writer

Tim Monroe finished last for the 6th time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Friday’s Sioux Chief Fast Track 150 at Kansas Speedway when his #10 Ford fell out with mechanical issues after completing 4 of 100 laps.

The finish came in Monroe’s 32nd career ARCA Menards Series start.

Prior to Friday’s race at Kansas, Monroe took last at both Phoenix and Talladega earlier this year, giving him a season total of three last-place finishes. This moved Monroe to the top of the leaderboard in the LASTCAR Drivers’ Standings for the national ARCA Menards Series tour, breaking a tie with Brad Smith for most last-place finishes in 2023. Monroe and Smith are now tied with 10 bottom-five finishes apiece, though Smith holds the bottom-ten tiebreaker with 16 such finishes to Monroe’s 13.

Although most of Monroe’s starts this season have resulted in DNFs due to the "start-and-park" practice, his latest last-place finish comes after two consecutive races where he attempted the full race distance. Monroe finished 15th at Milwaukee before picking up a season-best 8th-place finish at DuQuoin the following weekend.

In total, 22 cars appeared on the entry list for Kansas. Due to the withdrawal of Rita Goulet’s No. 31 Rise Motorsports entry, only 21 took part in the race. The Rise Motorsports team posted on their Facebook page that the engine builder who rented the team their DuQuoin engine was not confident it was in good enough shape to last the entire race at Kansas, leading the team to withdraw after they were unable to find a replacement motor in time.

Of the 21 cars at the track, all but Kevin Hinckle made an appearance during qualifying. Smith placed last of the 20 cars to run a lap, clocking in at 39.288 seconds. Alex Clubb was the next driver up the grid in 19th, followed by Monroe and his Fast Track Racing teammate Matt Kemp, who rounded out the Bottom Five spots on the grid.

After Monroe became the first retirement from the race, Kemp pulled behind the wall with a vibration after completing 10 laps. Shortly thereafter, a third Fast Track entry, driven by Ryan Huff, was shown on the FS1 broadcast on pit road with the hood up. Huff’s issues were not terminal, however, as he returned to the track and ultimately finished 15th, completing 86 of 100 laps. 

The rest of the Bottom Five consisted of Jesse Love, Frankie Muniz, and Andres Perez de Lara, who entered the race first, third, and second in points respectively. Perez de Lara was the first to encounter trouble, hitting the wall on Lap 6. While Perez de Lara returned to the track, Love lost a right-front tire and hit the wall on Lap 24, ending his race and causing the first caution to be displayed. Finally, Muniz blew a right-front tire of his own on Lap 50, continuing a difficult stretch of results for the Rette Jones Racing team. Perez de Lara then rounded out the Bottom Five as his damage proved terminal after 57 laps.

At the front of the field, Connor Mosack took advantage of the high attrition to take a commanding victory, nearly lapping the entire field in scoring his first career ARCA win. JR Motorsports late model driver Carson Kvapil was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap, while Toni Breidinger brought home a career-best third-place finish having just been lapped as Mosack was coming to take the white flag.

21) #10-Tim Monroe / 4 laps / mechanical
20) #11-Matt Kemp / 10 laps / vibration
19) #20-Jesse Love / 24 laps / crash
18) #30-Frankie Muniz / 48 laps / crash
17) #2-Andres Perez de Lara / 57 laps / crash

1st) Chevrolet (8)
2nd) Ford (7)
3rd) Toyota (2)

1st) Fast Track Racing (5) 
2nd) Smith Brothers Racing (4)
3rd) Clubb Racing (2)
4th) Coughlin Brothers Racing, KLAS Motorsports, Our Motorsports, Spraker Racing Enterprises, Tamayo-Cosentino Racing, Kimmel Racing (1)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Click HERE to view the full standings for both the main ARCA Menards Series and the ARCA Menards Series East and West divisions. You can also find the full manufacturers’ and owners’ standings HERE.


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