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.
Fans will be able to attend the race at New Smyrna (buy tickets) and can watch the race live on Trackpass on NBC Gold.
Jeep Beach 175 at New Smyrna Speedway
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 will be released in the coming days.
|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|
-ARCA Press Release and Photo