A solid performance last weekend at Kansas Speedway was thwarted for Muniz and his No. 30 Ford | Rette Jones Racing Ford Mustang after Muniz suffered a cut tire which sent him hard into the wall at the exit of Turn 4 on Lap 49 – abruptly ending his day.
With just three races remaining in his inaugural freshman season at Bristol, Salem (Ind.) Speedway and Toledo Speedway in early October, Muniz and his Mark Rette-led team hope to turn the tide and rekindle some of their early season success.
“Frustrating is not even the word to describe the past month and a half or so,” said Muniz. “Just when we think we will have a good race, something will come out, bite us, and ruin the race for us. I hope and pray that we have paid our dues, all of our bad luck is behind us, and we can focus on ending the season on a high note.”
Muniz has never competed at the demanding 0.533-mile, but that does not phase the former Malcom in the Middle television star; instead, Muniz is ready to tackle “Thunder Valley” for himself and collect his 10th top-10 finish of the season.
“I have been fortunate enough to spend some time in the simulator to get acquainted with Bristol and run plenty of laps. The laps go by quickly, and you must be on top of your game. It will be a challenge, but a challenge that I accept.”
To help achieve his 10th top-10 finish of the season or his second top-five run of 2023, Muniz plans to take a conservative approach to the 18th ARCA race of the season.
“I know if I want to finish first, I must first finish,” explained Muniz. “That’s a long-time racing phrase, but it is valid for Bristol. With the race set to be a combination race between the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series East, it will be a competitive field.
“Track position is going to be essential on Thursday. Mark (Rette crew chief) and I will focus on the setup and look to make gains during practice and qualifying and stay in contention by Lap 100.
“If we can keep ourselves on the lead lap and in contention and, more importantly, stay out of trouble, we should have a good finish!”
The Scottsdale, Ariz. native is also focused on points. With his 18th finish at Kansas, Muniz slipped to fourth in points and sits just three points behind fellow rookie Christian Rose.
A strong finish on Thursday night will assist him in reclaiming the points he has recently lost.
“We’re chasing more than a good finish on Thursday at Bristol,” added Muniz. “We are chasing points. I don’t know if the championship is possible, but finishing second in points certainly is what we are fighting for over the next three races.”
For the eighth time this season, Muniz and Rette Jones Racing will display the Ford colors for the 18th ARCA Menards Series race of the season.
Former ARCA championship-winning crew chief and co-owner Mark Rette has been highly impressed with Muniz’s performances in the first 17 races of the year. He looks forward to seeing him strengthen his craft in his Bristol Motor Speedway debut on September 14.
“The last six or seven races for us have been tough because we certainly have had the speed but lacked the results we know we were capable of. “Frankie has stepped up to the plate and continued to give more than 100 percent behind the wheel – but we’ve just had racing circumstances that have hindered us a little.
“We were all looking forward to Kansas, and even though we got knocked down again, we are standing up and ready to fight Thursday night at Bristol. Even though Bristol can tend to be a handful for rookies, I think Frankie will rise above that challenge and contend for a strong finish.”
Entering Bristol, Muniz sits fourth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, three points behind third-place runner Christian Rose and 21 points behind second-place runner Andrés Pérez de Lara.
He sits 149 markers behind championship leader Jesse Love with three races remaining.
Rette Jones Racing stands a respectable sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship owner standings.
Since 2023, Muniz has 17 ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit, with a career-best finish of fifth at Michigan International Speedway in August 2023. In all, Muniz has delivered one top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He also maintains an average finishing position of 10.5 in his inaugural year of stock car competition.
The Bristol 200 (200 laps | 106.6 miles) is the 18th of 20 races on the 2023 ARCA Menards Series schedule in the 71st consecutive ARCA season. Practice begins Thursday, September 14, from 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying in a timed session will begin a short time later at 3:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag 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 entire weekend festivities.