ARCA Menards Series Rookie of the Year candidate Frankie Muniz and his Rette Jones Racing team trek to central Ohio prepared to tackle the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course eyeing a rebound performance in Friday’s Zinsser SmartCoat 150.
In the series’ most recent race at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, Muniz suffered his first DNF (did not finish) of the season and scrapped a perfect lap record streak after being involved in a late-race accident 51 laps shy of the checkered flag that left the Mooresville, N.C.-based team with a heavily damaged race car and a frustrated demeanor.
Moving forward, nearly two weeks since Elko, the potent duo is refocused and looking ahead to the first of two road course races this season as an opportunity to put their season back on track, but also hopefully capture the team’s first top-five finish of the season.
“I think I am more than ready for Mid-Ohio,” said Muniz. “Honestly, this is one of the races I have had circled on my calendar because I believe we can go to the track this season and hopefully be the car that everyone is chasing.”
Aiding Muniz this weekend is his previous experience at Mid-Ohio. Muniz has four prior starts at the Lexington, Ohio race course. However, a serious crash at the circuit in 2009 halted his racing career until recently.
Muniz, the former Malcom in the Middle star looks for vindication at Mid-Ohio in Friday’s Zinsser SmartCoat 150 as a sense of closure from the incident 14 years ago.
“I’m thankful that I’ll have some laps at Mid-Ohio and that should put us ahead of the game compared to other ARCA races this season,” added Muniz. “While my last time at Mid-Ohio didn’t have the best outcome, I’m looking forward to returning to the race track this weekend and hitting the reset button and seeing together what we can accomplish as a team.
“From an ARCA perspective, I’ve been utilizing every source that I have to familiarize myself with the track. “I also went back and watched the races from the last couple of years and even though most of the race was run in the rain in 2022, you realize where your passing opportunities are and where you need to execute the most in a stock car.
“We need to go to Mid-Ohio this weekend and have a good run and hope that we can continue to attract attention that will allow us to keep fighting towards this ARCA championship. We still need some help with sponsorship this season, so I know that every race is also like an audition for our Rette Jones Racing team.”
Muniz will carry his Muniz Racing brand colors as the primary partner of the No. 30 Ford Mustang this weekend at Mid-Ohio. The livery will also display a QR Codewhich links to Muniz’s official apparel store which showcases an array of official Frankie Muniz and Muniz Racing apparel.
Former ARCA championship-winning crew chief and co-owner Mark Rette has been extremely impressed with Muniz’s performances in the first seven races of the year and looks forward to seeing his road course skills on display at Mid-Ohio.
“I’m glad Mid-Ohio is here because we all felt like we had a shot at a top-five at Elko,” offered Rette. “Frankie has really adapted well to every race track this year. It was just a shame that our night ended early and has briefly stalled our momentum.
“Mid-Ohio though is a great opportunity for Frankie. I know how much he loves to road course race and I believe his previous experience at Mid-Ohio will be showcased front and center. From my perspective, we just need to keep making gains from practice to qualifying and then throughout the race.
“If we are able to keep our No. 30 Rette Jones Racing Ford Mustang on track, we should be in a good position to execute in the closing laps of the race. I’d like to think that we are one of the favorites for Friday’s race, we just need to showcase we have the speed to be one of those favorites.
“We will see what Mid-Ohio delivers and then we’ll regroup and get ready for Iowa Speedway.”
For the 2023 ARCA season, Rette Jones Racing will continue its longtime partnership with Ford Performance but has upgraded its fleet to include the Ford Mustang continuing this weekend in Ohio.
Entering Mid-Ohio, Muniz sits second in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 40 markers behind championship leader Jesse Love with 13 races remaining.
Rette Jones Racing stands a respectable fourth in the ARCA Menards Series championship owner standings.
Since 2023, Muniz has seven ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit with a career-best finish of sixth at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway in June 2023, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May 2023 and Phoenix Raceway in March 2023 and five top-10s overall. He also maintains an average finishing position of 8.9 in his inaugural year of stock car competition.
The Zinsser SmartCoat 150 (42 laps | 94.84 miles) is the eighth of 20 races on the 2023 ARCA Menards Series schedule in the 71st consecutive ARCA season. Practice begins Friday, July 7 from 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying in a timed session will begin a short time later at 3:20 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag later in the day shortly after 6:00 p.m. ET. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM channel 391 | online channel 981) handling the radio waves. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities.