Nashville, TN (Wednesday, May 5, 2021) – The ARCA Menards Series East returns to action after a two-month layoff with the Crosley Record Pressing Music City 200 Presented by T-Mobile & Action 247 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. The legendary five-eighths mile banked oval has hosted two previous East races, in 2007 and 2008 with Rogelio Lopez and Matt Kobyluck each claiming victory.
The 200-lap main event is part of a 400-lap stock car racing extravaganza that also includes a pair of 100-lap features for both super late models and crate-engined pro late models.
Max Gutierrez started the season with a slam-bang last-corner-of-the-last-lap win at New Smyrna Speedway. Gutierrez, a talented teenager from Mexico City, Mexico, took the white flag in third place but when the top two – leader Sammy Smith and second-place Taylor Gray – played bumper tag into turn three and drifted up the track, Gutierrez turned hard left, dropped the hammer and stole the win by inches.
Smith found redemption two weeks later at Five Flags Speedway. He was fastest in practice, earned the General Tire Pole Award, and dominated the race, leading 145 laps on his way to a 2.04 second victory over Mason Diaz.
Smith, driving for powerhouse organization Joe Gibbs Racing, will have his hands full if he hopes to score consecutive victories. New Smyrna winner Gutierrez is sure to be a factor, as will Five Flags runner-up Diaz. Diaz’s second-place finish at Five Flags is a career-best, giving him a much needed boost of momentum after a frustrating 2020 season that saw him fail to finish three of the six series races. Diaz looks to give team owners John and Marie Visconti their second career series win. Their only previous victory came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2018.
Rajah Caruth also looks to be a factor, despite a slow start to the season. Caruth, a participant in the NASCAR Drive 4 Diversity program driving for Max Siegel’s Rev Racing team, finished a disappointing eleventh at New Smyrna before rebounding to finish fourth at Five Flags. Caruth, from Washington, D.C., has transitioned from virtual racing to full-bodied stock cars and has tasted success. He swept twin late model features at Hickory Motor Speedway last weekend, also giving him a needed boost of momentum and confidence heading into Nashville.
Another driver who has tasted virtual racing success is Parker Retzlaff. The Rhinelander, Wisconsin native earned a pair of high-profile iRacing victories last year, and has started off the season with a pair of strong performances, even if it hasn’t translated to strong finishes. Retzlaff led 55 laps at New Smyrna before mechanical issues slowed his pace late in the going, resulting in a ninth-place result. He rebounded to finish sixth at Five Flags, but is still on the hunt for his first career series win.
The Crosley Record Pressing Music City 200 Presented by T-Mobile & Action 247 will be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold starting at 9:30 pm ET.
Story – ARCA Racing Series
Photo – Jim DenHamer