CLERMONT, Ind. – Over the years, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has had a large number of graduates move from their series into successful careers among the top three levels of NASCAR.
Most believe this year will be no different, as the entry lists throughout the season have boasted many talented young drivers who have bright futures in racing.
Fans will get to see plenty of that talent on track this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway, with Saturday’s Shore Lunch 200 presented by Load Trail featuring a long list of potential winners, led by Harrison Burton.
Burton, the son of retired Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeff Burton, has had what many would call a good career already. He’s won numerous super late model events, five NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races and the 2017 championship, a championship during the World Series at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and two ARCA Racing Series races.
The second-generation star also has two top fives in just four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season. Burton, who will turn 18 on Tuesday, will also run the K&N East race at Dover Int’l Speedway on Friday night.
Californian Sheldon Creed looks to be on his way to the ARCA championship and has three wins this year. That said, none of the three wins came on one of ARCA’s typical short tracks.
Creed has found victory lane at Michigan, Gateway and Iowa. He does have some solid short track finishes, though, with top fives at Nashville, Salem, and Madison. Those finishes have propelled him into the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge lead and make him a threat for the win on Saturday night.
Second place point man and fellow Californian Zane Smith will definitely be one of the favorites Saturday night. Smith has the most wins on the series this year, with four victories, but has also had some bad luck which has put him 405 points behind Creed.
Smith has wins at Nashville, Talladega, Toledo, and Pocono. He came onto the racing scene strong in 2015, when he won the super late model World Series title at New Smyrna and has a top-five finish to his credit in his only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start.
One driver to keep an eye on will be Wheeling, W.Va., native Travis Braden. Braden won at Lucas Oil Raceway in his first ever ARCA start in 2015 but hasn’t found victory lane since.
This season is Braden’s first full run with the series. He has four top fives in 18 starts, but more impressively, three of those top fives came in Braden’s last four starts. The MatrixCare/Consonus Healthcare sponsored team is based in the Indianapolis area, so this race will be on their home turf.
Other young wheelmen to keep an eye on will be former Snowball Derby winner Christian Eckes, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Riley Herbst and Chandler Smith, who has won two races in eight starts this year.
Natalie Decker, Gus Dean, Sam Mayer, Thad Moffitt, Michael Self, Joe Graf Jr. and Carson Hocevar are also drivers vying for the Shore Lunch 200 trophy.