2022 ARCA Menards Series East at Dover Motor Speedway

Takeaways From ARCA Menards East's Trip To Monster Mile

Takeaways From ARCA Menards East's Trip To Monster Mile

Check out the key takeaways from the ARCA Menards Series East's trip to Dover Motor Speedway for the General Tire 125.

May 2, 2022 by NASCAR Roots
Takeaways From ARCA Menards East's Trip To Monster Mile

The ARCA Menards Series East returned to action Friday afternoon at Dover Motor Speedway for the running of the General Tire 125, the 32nd visit by the series to the one-mile concrete oval.

The Monster Mile proved to be no match for Taylor Gray, who wheeled a new Ford Mustang to his first East Series victory after leading the majority of the race for David Gilliland Racing in the No. 17.

It was an important victory for Gray, who took a major chunk out of the lead Sammy Smith had in the East Series standings prior to Friday’s race.

Below are the key takeaways from Friday’s General Tire 125, beginning with Gray’s first ARCA Menards Series East victory.

Taylor Gray tames the Monster

Taylor Gray had the car to beat Friday afternoon at Dover Motor Speedway during the General Tire 125.

That car featured the new Ford Mustang body, which was making its debut on the ARCA Menards platform as the auto manufacturer works to towards replacing the Ford Fusion body that has been in use in ARCA competition for the last several seasons.

It’s almost like Gray had a few extra horses when he took the No. 17 Ford Performance Racing School entry on track. During the combined practice/qualifying session Gray set an East Series track record with a 160.915 mph lap, obliterating the previous record of 157.143 mph set by Ruben Garcia Jr. in 2018.

He backed up his incredible qualifying lap by dominating the race, leading 116 of the 125 laps and getting to the checkered flag first by 1.456 seconds ahead of runner-up Jesse Love.

Perhaps more important than the victory for Gray is the gains he made in the East Series points standings. The victory, combined with a fifth-place finish by defending series champion Sammy Smith, allowed Gray to close within two points of Smith after three races.

The battle between Gray and Smith will continue when the East Series heads to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway this Saturday night for the Nashville 200.

Jesse Love best of the Venturini bunch

Venturini Motorsports came prepared to race with four cars entered in the General Tire 125 Friday afternoon.

In the end it was Jesse Love who gave the team its best shot at victory as the two-time ARCA Menards Series West champion battled with Gray for the lead multiple times.

Love was the only driver besides Gray to lead Friday afternoon. He led for nine laps after taking the lead from Gray during a restart at Lap 30, but Gray got the lead back just prior to the Lap 40 scheduled break.

The driver from Menlo Park, California, chased Gray for the rest of the race but was never able to catch him again.

In addition to Love, Venturini Motorsports also fielded cars for Conner Jones, Jake Finch and Jonathan Shafer Friday afternoon. All three drivers were making their debuts for the team.

Jones was the best of that trio, coming home third to earn his best finish on the ARCA Menards platform. Finch finished sixth in his second East Series race and Shafer was seventh in his ARCA platform debut.

Another solid run for Rajah Caruth

Rajah Caruth continues to close in on his first victory on the ARCA Menards platform.

The current ARCA Menards Series points leader made his East Series return Friday, registering a fourth-place finish in the No. 6 Rev Racing Chevrolet after racing in the top-five for the majority of the race.

It was his third career East Series top-five for Caruth, who was pulling double at Dover Motor Speedway by also competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday for Alpha Prime Racing.

Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned on Saturday as mechanical problems sent him to the garage early, resulting in a 38th-place finish.


  • After a runner-up finish in the last East Series race at Florida’s Five Flags Speedway, Leland Honeyman struggled to an eighth-place finish Friday afternoon. He remains third in the series standings, 16 points behind leader Sammy Smith.
  • Christian Rose equaled his best East Series finish with a 10th-place result at Dover. He’s currently fourth in the East Series points standings.
  • The General Tire 125 was slowed by four caution flags, including two race breaks, and featured two lead changes between two drivers.