ARCA Menards Series Advance: Bristol Motor Speedway

DGR Crosley
Bristol Motor Speedway

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway, 0.533-mile oval
Race: 16 of 20
Event: Bush’s Beans 200 (106.6 miles, 200 laps)

Schedule:
Thursday, Sept. 17
6:00 p.m………..Practice
9:30 p.m……….Race (FS1)
(all times ET)

Hailie Deegan, No. 4 Monster Energy Ford Fusion

Hailie Deegan

Hailie Deegan is looking forward to racing her No. 4 Monster Energy Ford Fusion in Thursday’s Bush’s Beans 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. She always enjoys racing at short tracks, and this high-banked concrete oval especially suits her driving style. The laps click off quickly, things happen fast and there is little time to figure out how to make the car handle well.

Deegan has three prior starts at Bristol in the former K&N Series East (now ARCA East). Her best finish came last fall driving for DGR-Crosley when she completed all the laps and finished ninth.

So far this year in 15 ARCA Menards Series starts, Deegan has earned three top-five, 13 top-10 finishes and led 85 laps. With five races to go in the season, she is still looking for her first win and is currently third in the driver point standings, 49 points out of first place and 47 points out of second.

The ARCA Menards Series Bush’s Beans 200 from Bristol Motor Speedway will be run on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on FS1. The 200-lap race will have two race breaks on, or near laps 75 and 150.

Deegan on Bristol: “Right now my goal is to win a race by the end of the season. My DGR-Crosley team has come a long way, especially on our short-track program. I have more experience on short tracks and I know what I need out of my car. One thing I have had to adjust to is that sometimes you need to go slower to be faster. When I was racing off-road trucks, to go faster you drove harder. Now my spotter (Eric Holmes) is always reminding me to back up my corners and not drive so hard in to get better laps times.

“Bristol is a track which awards aggressive drivers, which is why I run well there. It favors my driving style. It’s easy to get totally lost on the corners because the laps go so fast. I always have to remind myself the wall is closer off one corner than the other end, which changes things up a little.”

Taylor Gray, No. 17 Ford Performance Fusion

Taylor Gray

Taylor Gray will be making his first career start in any series at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Thursday night in the No. 17 Ford Performance Fusion. Known as the “Last Great Coliseum,” even walking down the steep concrete banking can be intimidating for drivers who have raced there many times. For a rookie it can be especially daunting, but 15-year-old Gray is up for the challenge.

In 12 ARCA Menards Series starts this season (including East and West starts), he has achieved seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. In the two races where he was not in the top 10, he finished 11th. Gray earned another top-five finish last Saturday at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway after finishing fifth in his fourth start there this year.

This race is twice as important for Gray since it not only counts for ARCA Menards Series points, but ARCA East as well. The East race at Bristol was originally scheduled in April, but due to the revised Covid-19 schedule, it is now part of the originally scheduled ARCA race. Gray is 11th in ARCA points, despite only competing in eight of 15 races. He jumped three spots to eighth in the East standings after his top five at Toledo. He has started three of the four races in that series.

The ARCA Menards Series Bush’s Beans 200 from Bristol Motor Speedway will be run on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on FS1. The 200-lap race will have two race breaks on, or near laps 75 and 150.

Gray on Bristol: “Bristol is kind of like Dover’s little brother. It’s just a really short Dover. It looks like a pretty cool place and I’m pretty excited to race there for the first time on Thursday. My driver coach, Brandon McReynolds, told me one thing to remember at Bristol is do not rush the gas off of turn four. These concrete tracks are also really hard on restarts. I was a perfect example of that in Dover. I completely screwed up in Dover and lit up the tires on the last restart there, which messed up my race. You really have to be on your game on the restarts.”