Sheldon Creed. Brandon Jones. Ross Kenseth. Austin Theriault. Brennan Poole. Chris Buescher. Ty Dillon.
These seven names are the most recent ARCA Menards Series race winners at Michigan International Speedway. It goes without saying the level of talent each of them process, as seen by being able to move up into the top-three NASCAR National Series divisions, with five of them holding full-time rides.
The performance of the ARCA drivers on intermediate tracks has helped in predicting the next driver to make the jump into the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series or NASCAR Xfinity Series. Friday’s VizCom 200 should be no different given the caliber of talent on the entry list.
Ty Majeski right now processes all the momentum in the series after winning the past two events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, also intermediate tracks like Michigan. He also posted a sixth-place finish last year in his inaugural trip to the Irish Hills. His success, though, marks no surprise, as he has been able to run some Xfinity Series events in the past.
Majeski hasn’t had it easy, challenged closely both weeks, this past weekend by Riley Herbst. The runner-up performance for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver marked his second of the season after doing the same at Talladega Superspeedway in April. By the way, he also posted a second-place finish in his last trip to Michigan last year.
In contrast, Michael Self has yet to be able to earn the opportunity to race in NASCAR full-time despite this being his fifth season of ARCA competition. It always seemed he was hidden in the shadows at Venturini Motorsports, until being able to take over the points lead currently by 30 points following a pair of victories. He is looking for a rebound performance at Michigan, though, as he scored a 11th-place finish at Pocono. He has done well in the Irish Hills previously, finishing third in his lone previous start.
His teammate Christian Eckes also knows what it feels like to win this year, picking up the checkered flag at Nashville. Since then, he has posted a pair of thirds and seventh to keep the consistency rolling, and sits fourth in points despite missing a race due to illness.
In contrast, consistency is the name of the game for Bret Holmes, as he has scored two top-fives and six top-10’s in eight races to sit second in points, despite not being able to visit victory lane yet this season. Although he fell out of last year’s race at Michigan with electrical issues, he was able to score a fourth-place finish in 2017.
Currently sitting third in points is Travis Braden following six top-10’s in eight races, with a season-best seventh at Talladega Superspeedway. He has ran well at Michigan before, finishing fourth and 12th in his previous two starts.
Joe Graf Jr. is getting that chance to shine, as he will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut on Saturday with Richard Childress Racing. He is also scheduled to run the ARCA race on Friday, hoping to improve upon his fifth-place finish last year at Michigan. He enters this weekend with momentum following an eighth-place finish at Pocono Raceway.
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