The 2018 Racing Season takes the green flag this weekend with both the ARCA Racing Series (ARS) Presented by MENARDS and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) in the sunny state of Florida. The ARCA Racing Series will make its season debut at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire while the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East headlines NASCAR Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday in the Race New Smyrna 175.
MDM returns to the ARCA Racing Series with a stellar lineup of drivers that includes Zane Smith, Chase Purdy and Sheldon Creed, while defending 2017 NKNPSE Champion Harrison Burton and Anthony Alfredo will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. As talented as the driver line-up is, it’s also duplicated with an impressive group of veteran and championship crew chiefs that include Mardy Lindley (Zane Smith), Jeff Stankiewicz (Sheldon Creed), Charles “Cully” Barraclough (Chase Purdy), Robert Huffman (Anthony Alfredo) and Shane Huffman (Harrison Burton).
Zane Smith, driver of the No. 41 ICON Vehicle Dynamics / La Paz Margarita Mix / Speed Vegas / Ultra Wheel Toyota will compete full time in the 2018 ARCA Racing Series and will be teamed up with NKNPSE Championship crew chief Mardy Lindley. “The biggest thing about Daytona is staying clear of the wrecks and surviving the storm. There are so many things out of your control during speedway racing. Zane’s never plate raced before so having someone like Derek Kneeland spotting for him will be huge for us,” said Lindley. Smith who ran three NKNPSE races in 2017 that included two poles, one third and a pair of runner-up finishes is ready to take on the new challenges for 2018 ARCA Season. Smith is a member of the NASCAR Next Class after cementing himself as a top young driver by winning the overall Super Late Model Championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing at New Smyrna Speedway.
Zane on Daytona: “I’m really looking forward to getting the season started, this is the first time I’ve ever ran for a championship, so balancing racing hard for wins and racing smart for points will be important all year and here is no different. Mardy, Marlin and the rest of my La Paz guys have put in a lot of work over the winter to get here.”
Chase Purdy, driver of the No. 8 Bama Buggies / Polaris Toyota will compete full time in 2018 ARCA Racing Series. Purdy brought home a fourth-place finish in the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship that include four consecutive pole awards and five runner-up finishes. Purdy will continue to be paired with veteran crew chief Charles “Cully” Barraclough for the 2018 season and had this to say about Daytona. “It’s a tough race because the unknown factor is higher in plate racing. We have TJ Majors that will be spotting for Chase. I don’t think you could ask for someone better then him to help a young kid out, especially here. We’re just going to keep the nose clean and work our way to the front.” Purdy is also a member of the NASCAR Next Class that is highlighted by 2015 US Legends INEX National Championship and winning the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year.
Chase on Daytona: “I can’t wait to get this season going. I get to have another season with Cully which is great, his experience at tracks like this will cut my learning curve down. I’m just going to pay attention to what he and TJ (Majors, spotter) tell me to do, log laps, learn as much as I can, and hopefully we’ll be there at the end.”
Sheldon Creed, better known as “The Showstopper” will be in the No. 28 United Rentals / A.M. Ortega Construction Toyota. Creed, a five-time Stadium Super Truck Champion and X-Games Gold Medal winner, had a break out season in the 2017 ARS with five top-five finishes and eight top-ten in eleven starts, as well as a General Tire Pole Award at Kentucky Speedway. Creed has one goal in mind for 2018 and that is to win the Championship under the MDM Banner.
Sheldon on 2018: “I’m super stoked to be coming back to MDM to race for the ARCA Championship this year. They gave me great cars all year, and I feel really comfortable with them. They know that I give 100 percent every race and I know they do too, so it’s a great relationship,” said Creed.
Harrison Burton, will be back in the No. 12 RUDD/DEX Imaging Toyota for a number of select races for the 2018 season while also competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Burton, the defending 2017 NKNPSE Champion, took the checkered flag five times leading the series in victories and became the youngest NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion, less than two weeks before his 17th birthday. Harrison was selected as a NASCAR Next Driver and is the son of former Monster Energy and Southern 500 winner Jeff Burton. Harrison began racing at the young age of 5 and is a three-time Quarter Midget Champion. Harrison will have Shane Huffman on top of the box calling the shots, “I’m really looking forward to being with Harrison, he’s a proven winner, last year’s champion, and my goal is just to keep it going for him. We’re loaded for bear and hunting wins all season, it is going to be a fun year.” said Huffman.
Harrison on 2018: “Last year was a dream year winning the K&N East Championship. But this year will be fun going after every win we can get. Shane and his guys have been together for a while and I see no reason why we can’t pick up where we left off last year.”
Anthony Alfredo will be behind the wheel of the No. 40 Ceco Building Systems Toyota. Alfredo is coming off a second-place finish in the 2017 CARS Tour Championship driving for JR Motorsports and is focused on bringing another NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship to MDM Motorsports. Anthony will be teaming up with Crew Chief and former Goody’s Dash Series Champion Robert Huffman. “For as little racing experience as he (Anthony) has, I think he has done a great job in his career thus far. I’m looking forward to working with him all year, finishing second in the CARS Tour Championship by just a few points to someone like Josh Berry shows he already has the ability to run with top competition.”
Anthony on 2018: “I’m really excited about coming over to MDM Motorsports this year to race for the K&N East Championship. I want to thank them for this opportunity, along with my parents and partners for helping make this possible. I am looking forward to working with all of the great individuals that are a part of their team and can’t wait to get to New Smyrna Speedway for our first race on February 11.”
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