The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) makes its second ever appearance at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for the O‘Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio. The green flag for the race drops tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET. The two-day event starts off today with NCTS practice and qualifying followed by the ARCA Menards Series race beginning at 6 p.m. ET in the Zinsser SmartCoat 150.
The fender-banging weekend will include a lineup of notable drivers in both series. ARCA‘s entry list includes actor Frankie Muniz, known for his role in the FOX sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle,” competing in the No. 30 for Rette Jones Racing. Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 could potentially feature two drivers in the starting field who have NTT INDYCAR SERIES experience at Mid-Ohio. Conor Daly will drive the No. 41 for Niece Motorsports, and Marco Andretti will make his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Trucks debut in the No. 7 for Spire Motorsports. Daly and Andretti have made eight and 15 starts, respectively, in INDYCAR at The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
“I can‘t wait to get my feet wet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” said Andretti in an interview with Racer.com. “I‘m grateful for Group 1001 and Spire Motorsports for making this happen. I have a lot of laps in an Indy car around Mid-Ohio. It‘s going to be a bit different but a lot of fun. The Cup Series guys I have spoken to said I will love it.”
Daly, Andretti and the rest of the NCTS lineup, 39 entries, will battle today to qualify for tomorrow‘s 36-car field. Saturday‘s O‘Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio will feature 67 action-packed laps during NASCAR‘s only national series stop in Ohio. Last year‘s inaugural NCTS race at Mid-Ohio saw Parker Kligerman and Zane Smith cross the finish line in close formation with Kligerman‘s No. 75 Henderson Racing Chevrolet taking a narrow .119-second margin of victory.
ThorSport Racing, based in nearby Sandusky, Ohio, is the local NASCAR team to watch at Mid-Ohio this weekend. The Ohio team brings three drivers in the top-10 of the NCTS point standings to the track: Ty Majeski (4th), Ben Rhodes (5th) and Matt Crafton (9th). Majeski, who trails series points leader Corey Heim by only 17 points, will look to continue his run of recent road course success on the team‘s home track.
“We‘ve had good runs on road courses the past couple seasons,” said Majeski. “We finished third at Sonoma (Raceway) and third this year at COTA (Circuit of the Americas), so we‘ve been knocking on the door of a road course win. Hopefully, we can put it all together this weekend for our home race.”
Tonight, the Toledo, Ohio-based ARCA Menards Series continues its 71st season running with the Zinsser SmartCoat 150. Taylor Gray won last year‘s ARCA Menards Series race at Mid-Ohio in a 25-car field. This year Jesse Love leads the series in the points standings heading to Mid-Ohio with actor Frankie Muniz chasing in second place. The 42-lap, 94.84-mile race starts at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Additional race weekend highlights include open-wheel action via a doubleheader for the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires. In its second season, the series serves as the first step in the USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires development ladder system. Between NCTS, ARCA and USF Juniors, four races will take the green flag across the two-day event.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course offers an exceptional family value. Children 12 and under are admitted free to Mid-Ohio when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Free parking is also available. General admission is $60 for the weekend, and grandstand seating is free on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are available online at midohio.com or can be purchased at the gate for an additional $10 per ticket. Tent and motorhome camping is available on site.
— Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course —