KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Many notable names have taken home an ARCA Menards Series checkered flag in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota.
Connor Mosack added his name to that list during Friday’s Sioux Chief Fast Track 150 at Kansas Speedway. He pulled away from the field following some early attrition to earn his maiden ARCA Menards Series victory, becoming the seventh first-time winner in 2023.
With Jesse Love and Dean Thompson both eliminated from contention earlier in the evening due to separate issues, Mosack cruised to the finish for a milestone victory he believed was overdue for himself and Joe Gibbs Racing.
“We’ve worked hard all year,” Mosack said. “There’s been some bad luck and I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but this one came together for us. I wish we could have had [Love and Thompson] to race there and I felt like we were a little bit better [than them].
“We earned that one, but we earned a few earlier this year and gave them away.”
Race-winning speed has been prevalent in the No. 18 since Mosack climbed into that car for the first time at Daytona International Speedway.
Mosack earned the General Tire Pole Award in his debut outing at Daytona and led a race-high 25 laps before settling for second behind winner Greg Van Alst. The following four starts saw Mosack lead 26 more laps and finish inside the top-10 on each occasion, which included matching his career-best performance of second at Pocono Raceway.
Finally obtaining that breakthrough win required Mosack to put together his most efficient run of the season so far. Once he took the lead from Thompson for the final time on lap 43, Mosack spent the rest of the Sioux Chief Fast Track 150 facing little resistance from the field.
The closest challenge Mosack received during the second half of the race came from Carson Kvapil, who was making his ARCA Menards Series debut aboard the No. 28 Chevrolet for the Pinnacle Racing Group.
A successful driver in JR Motorsports’ late model stock car program, the only mistake Kvapil made during his first time around Kansas was slight wall contact during the early portion of the race. He kept his car out of trouble the rest of the night and got within a half-second of Mosack’s lead.
He had hoped to chase down Mosack in the closing laps, but came away from Kansas satisfied with how he adapted to the heavier ARCA cars.
“There are minor differences here and there, but a track this big is something I’ve never been on,” Kvapil said. “Practice was quite the eye-opener, but I thought we had a really good car. The car was a little better than Mosack’s for a bit, but as the tires wore out, we lost right-front grip. It was fun and I really enjoyed it.”
The torrid pace set by Mosack meant that Kvapil was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap in the Sioux Chief Fast Track 150.
Mosack has matched the speed of the Venturini cars in nearly every ARCA Menards Series start this year, so he knew it was only a matter of time before he and Joe Gibbs Racing found a setup that would take them to Victory Lane.
With Kansas scheduled to be his final ARCA Menards Series start with Gibbs this year, Mosack considered Friday’s outcome to be a fitting conclusion.
“At Michigan, we were really fast but really loose,” Mosack said. “We went to work on getting the balance where it needed to be. I was a little worried today because we were a little free in practice, but we made a great change at the halfway break and this thing was pretty dialed in. I was holding my breath there at the end, but we got it done.”
Toni Breidinger recorded a career-best finish of third in the Sioux Chief Fast Track 150. Lavar Scott rebounded from early wall contact to finish fourth with Jake Finch rounding out the top-five.
The rest of the top-10 finishers were Christian Rose, Scott Melton, Thompson, Mandy Chick and Andy Jankowiak.