The off-season is officially over for the ARCA Menards Series and the No. 18 Toyota Camry – now fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing – is picking up exactly where it left off at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.
On Friday, Connor Mosack competing in his first of six events in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 entry secured the pole position for Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series BRANDT 200 at Daytona International Speedway, posting a time of 49.396 seconds.
Jesse Love, who is easily the favorite for the 2023 ARCA Menards Series title, will start alongside Mosack on the front row, piloting the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports. The 18-year-old posted a time of 49.419 seconds.
As is typical with the group-qualifying format that the ARCA Menards Series employs at superspeedways, the remainder of the top-five features some major surprises – and potential dark horses for Saturday’s event.
Jason Kitzmiller, a part-timer in the ARCA Menards Series over the last several years, will start the event from the second row, with Ryan Huff, and Andy Jankowiak rounding out the top-five starters.
Robby Lyons will start the event from sixth, with Greg Van Alst, Scott Melton, Logan Misuraca, and Gus Dean completing the top-10 starts.
Frankie Muniz, who posted the fastest time in Thursday’s 50-minute practice session from the 2.5-mile superspeedway, will start 16th in his Rette Jones Racing No. 30 Ford Mustang.
Things weren’t all smooth sailing for the drivers of the ARCA Menards Series on Friday. Amber Balcaen, driving the No. 15 for Venturini Motorsports, had an engine expire on her qualifying run, which triggered a crash involving Sean Corr and Gage Rodgers.
Balcaen, Corr, Gage Rodgers, Miguel Gomes, and Kevin Campbell all failed to record a time in Friday’s multi-group qualifying session from Daytona International Speedway.