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Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 Preview

Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 Preview

by August 24, 2014 0 comments

Photo credit: arcaracing.com

MADISON, Wisc. — The ARCA Racing Series enters the final quarter of its 2014 campaign with Sunday’s Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at the Madison International Speedway.

While 28 drivers will take the green flag for the 200-lap race around the half-mile asphalt oval, only a select few should be considered favorites to take the victory in the 16th ARCA race of the season.

Mason Mitchell finds himself on the pole for today’s race thanks to rain washing qualifying out, giving the driver of the No. 98 Musselman’s-Wildlife Foundation of Florida-TTS Ford his fourth consecutive first-place starting position. In the lone practice the field was able to run, Mitchell led the entire field in his No. 98 car, running 14 thousandths of a second quicker than second-place driver Brennan Poole. With a quick car underneath him and a previous seventh-place finish at Madison from last year, Mitchell is in a great position to continue to build on his points lead as the conclusion of the season continues to draw near.

The tricky part regarding that will be escaping his closest combatant in the drivers’ standings, Grant Enfinger. Enfinger and his GMS Racing crew have brought their Berlin winning car to Madison this week looking for the win. The No. 90 Motor Honey-Casite-Allegiant Travel Chevrolet that will be in use today absolutely dominated in Marne, leading 181 of 200 laps in a performance that would deliver Enfinger his fifth win of the year and his fourth on a short track. Enfinger would post a competitive time in practice as well with the third-fastest time on the speed chart – 85 hundredths of a second off of Mitchell’s time.

10-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel may be in a prime position to capture his first win of the 2014 season in Madison today. Kimmel has raced in every series race held at Madison since the series made its return to the track in 2011 and has never finished worse than ninth in each of those races. The driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota is coming off of a sixth at Berlin and a third at IRP and will be looking to improve on both of those results in today’s race. The former champion is also the third-place finisher of the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 from last year and he sat eighth on the practice speed chart yesterday. With qualifying being rained out, Kimmel finds himself in a prime position in third to strike for the first time this year.

Last year’s Madison runner-up, Justin Boston, may put together the right combination to win his second race of the year today. Last year’s Rookie of the Year has been incredibly consistent as of late, scoring seven straight top-10 finishes in a row. Boston has also been consistent on the short tracks this year as well with only one finish outside of the top-10 coming at Salem back in April. Boston was solid all race last year in Madison, finishing second from a second starting position while leading eight laps as well. The driver of the No. 25 ZLOOP Toyota will start a bit deeper in the field today in eighth.

Brandon Jones’ quest for perfection will go over more hurdles than usual in today’s race. The 17-year-old Jones is thus far two-for-two in the ARCA Racing Series this season with wins with Turner Scott Motorsports coming at Winchester and IRP earlier in the year. The Atlanta, Georgia native’s two wins both came from front-row starting positions. For today, Jones will be starting way back in 22nd due to the field being set by owner points. No driver this season has been able to win a race from a deeper starting position than ninth with the same applying to Madison International Speedway as well. Jones has been strong in both races this season though and with some pit strategy going his way, he may be able to jump his way up to the front as a contender today.

The same applies to defending Madison winner Kyle Benjamin. Benjamin won at Madison last year with Venturini Motorsports but finds himself returning to the track this year with a family-owned Benjamin Racing No. 37 Ford. Benjamin, like Jones, will start deep in the field in the 27th position due to his team not making a start prior to this weekend. Benjamin was able to run a very competitive time in practice with his new team – running fifth-fastest in practice yesterday with a lap time just over one tenth of a second off of Mitchell’s session-pacing time.

The Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 will air live on CBS Sports Network today with coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m CST (3:00 p.m EST.)

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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