The 2019 ARCA Menards Series season got underway on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway for the Lucas Oil 200. The starting field, led by pole-sitter Christian Eckes, featured 35-entries for the Lucas Oil 200 at the 2.5-mile oval known as the “World Center of Racing.” The 200-mile event went into overtime and was won by young driver Harrison Burton.
Burton started the afternoon in the fifth starting spot and was one of the ones to watch coming into the day. The driver sat fourth in practice one on Thursday and sat out final practice Friday morning. The son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeff Burton led the field for 48 laps.
"It means so much to come here and win at a track my dad won at before me," Burton said. "I can't thank my guys at Venturini Motorsports enough, they busted their butts on this car for the last month to get it so we can come here and compete to win.
The team had some concerns with about 10 laps to go in regulation after picking up some debris on the front grill. Despite the debris and overheating concerns, Burton was able score his third career ARCA victory.
"We had some debris on the grille over the last run and I think it actually helped,” said Burton in victory lane. “The temperatures went up but they weren't too high. I got the jump on the restart and I knew Todd was on a run. We were up high next to the wall and I looked up and saw no one had a run. I knew that any time something bad could happen, and I was just waiting for it. It never did and then when I crossed the line I started screaming my head off."
Todd Gilliland will be credited with the runner-up position in the No. 4 Frontline Enterprises Toyota. Gilliland, son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland, started 18th on the leaderboard.
Gilliland exits the Lucas Oil 200 with four top five and six top 10 finishes through seven ARCA starts. The driver will compete in next Friday’s NextEra Energy Solutions 250 at Daytona International Speedway – the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season opener.
"I could go wherever I wanted with this car," Gilliland said. "No matter what line I was in, we could go to the front and help the whole line. It was a shame I couldn't get up there and beat my Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate for the win, but we learned a lot for next week.
Grant Quinlan rounded out the top three finishers. Quinlan, piloting the No. 30 Jones Demolition and Abatement Ford, started the afternoon from the 25th spot. The driver from Canada will take home his first ARCA top 10 finish in only his second start.
"I don't do a lot of superspeedway racing," Quinlan said after the race. "It's a lot different than what I am used to. We hooked up with Todd (Gilliland) and went to the front late in the race. We had some debris on the grille and had to make a second pit stop but thankfully he was back there too and we could work our way up to the front together."
Pole-sitter Christian Eckes and Sean Corr rounded out the top five.
Natalie Decker, Codie Rohrbaugh, Travis Braden, Andy Seuss and Riley Herbst rounded out the top 10.
Reigning Lucas Oil 200 race winner Michael Self and reigning third-place finisher Willie Mullins tangled early in the running. The incident sent both drivers to the garage and forced Mullins to finish 35th. Self later returned to take home a 31st-place finish.
The next race for the series will be at Five Flags Speedway on March 9. MAVTV will carry the live television broadcast of the Pensacola 200 at 7:00 p.m. ET.