The ARCA Menards Series heads to Nashville this weekend for the 2019 Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Fairgrounds Speedway. The race makes it’s May debut after cold conditions have made recent races at Nashville almost unbearable.
Last season, Zane Smith held off eventual ARCA Menards Series champion Sheldon Creed for his first career victory at the track, as temperatures remained under 37 degrees the entire day. Now that the race has moved to May, temperatures should be a little more bearable. The high is slated to be 75 degrees, but the weather isn’t looking friendly. A 90% chance of rain is currently slated on Friday, per the Weather Channel, while Saturday night’s forecast is looking positive with just a 50% chance of rain. Sunday has a 0% chance of rain.
Should the weather hold off, the ARCA Menards Series will take the green flag for the fifth race of the 2019 campaign. The series’ last race came when the drivers took the green flag last Friday evening (April 26) at the Talladega Superspeedway. Todd Gilliland led 34 laps en route to his first victory of the 2019 season and earned DGR-Crosley’s first career victory in ARCA.
While Gilliland propelled his way to victory, Michael Self maintained the points lead he claimed after winning the rain-shortened race at Salem Speedway. Christian Eckes‘ championship hopes took a huge hit as he was collected in an accident with Thad Moffitt. Eckes will look for retribution this weekend at the track he made his debut at in 2016.
Self currently holds the points lead by five points over the No. 27 of Travis Braden. Bret Holmes sits in third with 680 points, followed by Joe Graf Jr. and Brad Smith rounding out the top five. Tommy Vigh Jr. sits sixth, followed by Eckes, Chandler Smith, Harrison Burton and Ty Gibbs rounding out the top 10.
Chandler Smith returns to the No. 20 car for Venturini Motorsports this weekend for his 12th career start in the series and is searching for his first victory since Salem last season. Much like Eckes, Smith is returning to the track where he made his ARCA debut last season. One thing that Smith is looking to do is earn the No. 20 car it’s second straight pole award. Brandon Lynn won the pole at Talladega last Friday.
Along with Smith, Gibbs makes his return to ARCA. In two starts this season, Gibbs finished inside the top 10. He earned his career-best finish of second at Five Flags Speedway and finished sixth at Salem. He’s looking to land Joe Gibbs Racing in victory lane at Nashville for the first time and to earn the team it’s second ARCA victory.
Toyota was able to tally its first ARCA victory at Nashville last season, snapping Chevrolet’s streak of four wins in a row at the track. Vigh, Mike Basham, Connor Okrzesik, Corey Heim, Braden, Kaden Honeycutt, Brad Smith and Graf will all look to deliver Ford’s first victory at Nashville and the Blue Oval’s first victory in ARCA since Graf did so at Berlin Raceway last season.
Lexi Gay will make her ARCA debut this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 44 Gordos-Golden Corral Chevrolet for Empire Racing Group. Gay is from Canton, Georgia and has risen her way through the ranks of racing, including racing bandoleros at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. She also has experience behind the wheel of Empire’s late model in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
20 cars are currently on the entry list for Saturday’s race (May 4) at Fairgrounds, which is slated to be the least amount of entries ever. Last season, 26 cars took the green flag, which was the previous low for car count.
The race winner has started inside the top five in three of the five races, including last year’s event. Zane Smith started third en route to his victory last season. Chad Finley came from 13th in 2017 to win, the worst starting position to do so.
The Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions is slated to start at 8:00 p.m./CT, with driver introductions starting at 7:40 p.m./ET. The race will air live on MAVTV, and tickets are still available. Click here to get discounted tickets for Saturday’s race from now until race day. According to Track Enterprises, if the race cannot be run on Saturday, it’ll run on Sunday at a time to be determined.
About the author
His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.
During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.
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