Despite not being able to compete in the season opener at Daytona last year because he had not yet turned 18 years old, Perez and his Rev Racing team still managed to finish as runner-up in the series standings.
Perez’s standout rookie season, which featured 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes, was overshadowed by Jesse Love’s dominating 10-win title season.
Nonetheless, the Mexico City native made great strides in his pursuit of a NASCAR racing career.
Perez and teammate Lavar Scott are top contenders in the battle for the 2024 ARCA title, which kicks off Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway. Both ran well in a two-day preseason test at the track over the weekend.
“Very excited to head to my second season with the Rev (Racing) team,” Perez said following the conclusion of the Daytona test. “Obviously, knowing most of the places we are going to go is a very good help. Really excited about that. We’ve been working. I think we will be improving every time we go on the track.
“The first race at Daytona is the only one I did not do last year. The track itself is great, and the atmosphere is also very good. Really looking forward to that weekend.”
While Perez has an extensive racing background that covers NACAM Formula 4 and the NASCAR Mexico Series, he believes the ARCA national series wide-ranging schedule has greatly helped his development as a driver.
“I think ARCA is great. It helps me develop with the car and the ovals being from another country. In Mexico, we do stuff very differently, so it’s a very good approach to many of the tracks,” he said.
“We race dirt, we race road courses, big ovals, short ovals, superspeedways, so that’s pretty much everything.”
The one obvious missing line in his resume thus far is a win. He has come close – frustratingly close, particularly last season.
He finished second in the dirt race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds but also suffered a heartbreaker at Michigan when he seemed all but assured of a win. He started on the pole and led 43 laps but suffered a blown engine while leading with 14 laps to go.
Asked about being unable to secure his first win as yet, Perez said, “It’s been super frustrating, especially Michigan. That was the most frustrating. Everything would be different if we had that first win.
“That’s how it is. It makes us focused on getting that first win more, even more. I think last year went great. It could have been better, definitely.
“If we just improve our stuff here and there a little bit, there’s no reason that we should be out of the fight, and we should be there up there fighting for wins and the championship.”
2024 Plans and Expectations
While running the full ARCA schedule with Rev Racing, Perez said he also expects to compete in most – if not all – of NASCAR Mexico races, including the non-points event, which will be part of the Busch Light Clash weekend next month at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Perez said he welcomes the increased expectations this season as a preseason ARCA champion favorite.
“Let’s say it’s the pressure, but it’s also motivation,” he said. “For me, I feel more confident. I know we have places to improve. I know what to do differently from what I learned so far.”