With less than two laps remaining in the Henry Ford Health 200 ARCA Menards Series race Friday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Connor Mosack was on the cusp of his first career ARCA victory. But a caution that sent the race into overtime derailed a gritty drive and left the 24-year-old racer with a bittersweet third-place finish. Despite the disappointment, Mosack put on a performance at the 2-mile oval. After qualifying third, Mosack was forced to start at the back of the 23-car field when his racecar failed post-qualifying technical inspection. Yet three laps after the green flag waved, Mosack had already cracked the top-10. By lap nine, his No. 18 Mobil 1 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing was in the top-five. Staying up front, however, was no easy task, as Mosack’s car became progressively loose as the run wore on. Even as he passed Andrea Perez de Lara for second on lap 24, Mosack needed a tighter-handling racecar. He got that opportunity when a caution on lap 27 sent the field to pit road. But even with four fresh tires and a chassis adjustment, his car was a handful. He dropped to sixth one lap after the restart when he got loose and chased his car through turns one and two. “Wrecking-free everywhere,” said Mosack on the radio. Another caution on lap 36 bunched the field back up and allowed Mosack to reset. He went from sixth to fourth on the lap-41 restart and took third from Kris Wright on lap 44. Another caution on lap 58 allowed for a second trip to pit road and further chassis adjustments. Mosack restarted fifth as some other cars stayed out, but quickly made up the lost track position when racing resumed, rising to third on lap 64. Nonetheless, Mosack’s racecar was still on edge. “Real loose, even in clean air,” he said on lap 70 as the yellow caution flag flew again. That provided the context for a frantic series of laps, which began on a lap-76 restart. Mosack made contact with Gus Dean in turns one and two, but climbed back to third on lap 80 and then grabbed second from Andy Jankowiak on lap 83. With Perez de Lara just .15 of a second ahead, Mosack set his sights on taking the lead, doing just that on lap 90. The No. 18 Mobil 1 Toyota Camry was out front by a wide margin until the fateful caution that sent the race into overtime. On the restart, Mosack was hit from behind by the No. 55 car of Wright, lifting up the back tires and sending Mosack out of the groove. Mosack regained control, but the lost track position was significant. Nonetheless, he clawed his way back to third as Love took the victory by .115 of a second over Dean.
Connor Mosack driver of the No. 18 Mobil 1 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Pretty heartbreaking finish there at the end. I felt like we had a pretty dominant car. We struggled in dirty air, but I felt like we were getting better as the race went on. We got our rear tires picked up there on that last restart. I tried to go later in the box and should’ve done something different, obviously. Definitely going to learn from that one. Definitely hurts. I hate it for all my guys. They brought a really fast Mobil 1 Toyota Camry here.”
● This was Mosack’s eighth career top-five in the ARCA Menards Series and his second straight top-three. He finished second in his prior ARCA start July 21 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
● Mosack led once for nine laps – his first laps led at Michigan.
● This was Mosack’s sixth straight top-10 in ARCA, a streak that dates back to last September at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
● This was Mosack’s 14th top-10 in 18 career ARCA starts.
● This was Mosack’s second ARCA start at Michigan. He made his first ARCA start at the track in 2021, but he was foiled by a fuel-pressure issue and only made 33 laps.
● Mosack qualified third for the Henry Ford Health 200 with a lap of 39.129 seconds at 184.007 mph around the 2-mile oval.
● This was the fifth of six ARCA races where Mosack will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023. Joe Gibbs Racing won the ARCA owners’ title in 2021 with Ty Gibbs and again last year with Drew Dollar and Sammy Smith splitting driving duties. Mosack returns to the No. 18 Mobil 1 Toyota Camry Sept. 8 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Mosack is back in a racecar Saturday at Michigan. He will drive the No. 24 Toyota GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing in the Cabo Wabo 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, which goes live at 3:30 p.m. EDT on USA and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.