Kentucky Speedway

ARCA race at Kentucky Speedway features some of sports top young drivers

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones

SPARTA -- The entry list for Friday night's ARCA Racing Series Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway offers a glimpse into the future of the sport.

The drivers leading the point standings in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (William Byron) and Pro Series West (Noah Gragson) are entered at Kentucky. Both drivers tested Tuesday (Byron was quickest among 25 drivers overall) and were approved by ARCA officials to race in the Crosley Brands 150. Gragson will be making his first ARCA Racing Series start while Byron will be making his second. Byron finished second in his ARCA debut at Lucas Oil Raceway in late July.

The 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway is the biggest track Gragson has ever raced on.

"The biggest track I've raced so far in my career is Iowa Speedway which is a seven-eighths-mile," Gragson said. "I've been watching video of cars on the track and been playing IRacing but other than that I have an open mind going into it. I know that with the knowledge from everyone at Mason Mitchell Motorsports, I will be able to succeed."

Scott Heckert, who also tested Tuesday at Kentucky, is scheduled to make his ARCA debut Friday. Heckert is locked in a tight championship points battle with Byron for the 2015 K&N East Series title. Heckert is just 13 points away from Byron with one race remaining next weekend at Dover.

Three drivers are pulling double duty this weekend, racing in both the ARCA race Friday and the NASCAR Xfinity race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. They are Ryan Reed (Lira Motorsports), Brandon Jones and Daniel Suarez. Both Jones and Suarez drive for Venturini Motorsports in ARCA competition. Jones will be driving a Richard Childress Racing entry in the Xfinity race while Suarez will be driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Austin Cindric, son of Penske Racing headman Tim Cindric, finished an ARCA career-best fourth at Iowa Speedway earlier this season after leading 29 laps, and is entered at Kentucky in a Cunningham Motorsports 99 Ford with NASCAR veteran Chris Carrier serving as crew chief.

Seventeen-year-old Kyle Weatherman, who also drives for Cunningham Motorsports, is also entered. Weatherman earned the Calypso Lemonades Short Track Challenge championship in 2015.

Ross Kenseth, son of Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth, is entered in the Crosley Brands 150 in a Ken Schrader Racing entry. Kenseth won in Schrader's 52 car at Michigan Int'l Speedway in June.

Former ARCA winners entered in the Xfinity Series race at Kentucky include Xfinity Series points leader Chris Buescher (10 ARCA wins), Ty Dillon (nine), Brennan Poole (six), Dakoda Armstrong (three), Mario Gosselin (three), Brandon Jones (two), Erik Jones, Chase Elliott and Ryan Reed all with one. Dillon (2011) and Buescher (2012) are former ARCA national champions.

A full field of 36 drivers are entered for the 22nd running of the Crosley Brands 150.

Practice for the Crosley Brands 150 is Friday afternoon, from 12:30-2 followed by pole quailfying at 4:40. The Crosley Brands 150 is scheduled to start just after 8 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports 1.