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ARCA Menards Series News and Rumors

  • DGR-Crosley announces manufacturer change to Ford: DGR-Crosley announced a manufacturer change today as they join forces with the historic Ford Performance family, effective immediately. The David Gilliland led driver development program will field Ford entries across multiple racing series including late models, ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. The multi-year manufacturer agreement will help further develop Ford's pipeline of young talent to support their successful efforts in NASCAR's top series. "We're very excited to have DGR-Crosley come to Ford as part of our long-term efforts to develop drivers for NASCAR," said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. "We have just scratched the surface of what is possible in developing the next generation of Ford drivers with people like Chase Briscoe, and we believe a coordinated effort with a team like DGR-Crosley will help move that process forward successfully. David Gilliland was a trusted and valued Ford driver in NASCAR for many years, and we look forward to renewing that relationship with him in this new effort." The partnership will also provide DGR-Crosley and their drivers with assets that will help elevate their program to a championship caliber organization across multiple racing series. (In part from DGR-Crosley PR) (12-11-19)
  • Empire Racing Group leaving ARCA for NASCAR Xfinity?: Empire Racing Group has recently posted new classified ads on RacingJunk.com, as the organization continues to look for buyers of its ARCA Racing Series equipment. The team has been advertising its ARCA cars on the racing classifieds site for several months. These classifieds state that the complete team is for sale to make room for Xfinity cars. Empire Racing Group fielded entries for Thad Moffitt, Sean Corr, John Ferrier, and Lexi Gay this year. It has been in ARCA competition for several years. (In part from RacingJunk.com) (11-13-19)
  • ARCA Menards Series East schedule announced: The ARCA Menards Series East officially enters a new era with a seven-race slate in 2020 that will provide a mix of short-track showcases and national series companion events. The compact stand-alone schedule will also allow for the opportunity for competitors to compete for the new 10-race ARCA Series Showdown championship. The East season will kick off as the main event of the 54th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway on Monday, Feb. 10. The champion will be crowned on Saturday, Sept. 12 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend. With the blending of the ARCA Menards Series with the newly renamed ARCA Menards Series East and West, and a consolidated rulebook to go along with it, opportunities now exist for traditional ARCA Menards Series teams to test the waters in the East Series. One team looking to do just that is the ARCA Menards Series reigning championship team, Venturini Motorsports. "This is a great schedule with excellent spacing between events," said Venturini Motorsports co-owner Billy Venturini. "Our team will continue to compete in the ARCA Menards Series, as we have since 1982, but this schedule gives us the flexibility to run these seven races as well. It’s great to be able to offer this to the young drivers we are working with in 2020 and beyond." (In part from HomeTracks.NASCAR.com) (11-09-19)
  • Sam Mayer returning to GMS Racing for ARCA Showdown; East schedule: GMS Racing officials announced [that] Sam Mayer will return to the team with an expanded Gander Trucks schedule in 2020 as well as competing for ARCA Racing Series championships. Mayer won the 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship for GMS Racing as a member of the inaugural Drivers Edge Development program. The Franklin, Wis., native will compete in six Gander Trucks races while competing for the ARCA Racing Series Showdown Championship and looks to defend his ARCA East Championship. Mayer holds the honor of being the youngest NASCAR champion in any national series, earning his title at 16 years, three months and eight days. “I am excited to be returning to GMS Racing in 2020,” said Mayer. “We are being very aggressive with my schedule next year, and I think that will help challenge me and help me grow even more in my career. We are doubling the number of Gander Trucks races from what I am running in 2019 and once the ARCA series is finalized, I should be running more races than the entire truck schedule. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot this season with the support from GMS and I can’t wait for next season.” (In part from NASCAR.com) (10-26-19)
  • Christian Eckes wins ARCA Kansas 150; secures driver championship: The ARCA Kansas 150 was a microcosm of the entire season for Christian Eckes. The Middletown, New York native was fast in practice, but engine issues necessitated a change following qualifying. That sent Eckes to the rear of the field for the start, but he quickly knifed his way through the field to the top five. On a lap 57 restart, Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) challenged race leader Michael Self for the lead. One lap later, Eckes took control of the race, taking over the lead and driving away to, at times, a three-second lead. "The day didn't go smoothly at all," Eckes said. "We had an engine problem in qualifying and the guys had to change it an hour before the race. We started at the back and we were in the top ten in five laps. The car was on a rail all night." Eckes night wasn't smooth, and neither was his entire season. After taking the championship lead after the second race of the season, at Five Flags Speedway, Eckes fell ill the night before the third race of the year at Salem Speedway. He missed the race, giving up the points lead to teammate Self. Eckes and his Kevin Reed-led team were tenacious throughout the summer and fall, closing the gap and retaking the lead following the season's penultimate race at Lucas Oil Raceway. Eckes became the first series champion since Tim Steele in 1996 to miss a race en route to the championship. "We even missed a race," Eckes said in disbelief in victory lane. "The entire season has been filled with drama and we are still here. It's absolutely incredible." Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (10-19-19)
  • ARCA announces full 2020 schedule: The ARCA Menards Series will race 20 times at 20 different venues in 15 states in 2020, providing an all-encompassing slate of races across the country provide an opportunity for short-track veterans and rising young stars. ARCA’s 68th season will take the green flag at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 8 as part of DAYTONA Speedweeks at the "World Center of Racing." The ARCA Menards Series champion will be crowned at Kansas Speedway on Friday, Oct. 16. The road to the 2020 ARCA Menards Series crown is highlighted in the inaugural ARCA Showdown, a 10-race series set to attract the top teams in the ARCA Menards Series as well as the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West. The overall schedule features a mix of superspeedways and historic short tracks, as well as a pair of dirt tracks and a pair of road-course events, that will provide exciting racing for the fans and an exceptional test of teams and drivers. "We are very proud of the quality of our 2020 schedule. There are many traditional ARCA Menards Series races blended with races that have been very strong components of what is now the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West," said ARCA president Ron Drager. "We are also working on the schedules for the East and West divisions, and we think our drivers, teams, and fans all over the country will be pleased with the way everything has come together." Full Schedule (In part from ARCARacing.com) (10-15-19)
  • Driver and Owner Points adjusted after audit: A statistical audit of the ARCA Menards Series championship point standings has resulted in a five-point adjustment to the driver points for series championship leader Christian Eckes and car owner points for team owner Bill Venturini as well as thirteenth-place driver Ty Gibbs and car owner Coy Gibbs. Eckes' point total was lowered by five points while Gibbs total was increased by five. The audit, which series officials routinely do at the midway point of the season and again prior to the final race of the season, found Eckes was inadvertently credited with five bonus points for leading laps at Iowa Speedway and Gibbs was not. Eckes did not lead laps at Iowa, while Gibbs led ten laps. The change now results in Eckes' points adjusted from 4560 points to 4555 points, reducing the 20 point lead to 15 points over Michael Self heading into the series finale at Kansas Speedway on Friday, October 18. (From ARCARacing.com) (10-09-19)
  • ARCA returning to Mid-Ohio next year: The ARCA Menards Series will return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the first time since 1965 when it competes at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course on May 30, 2020. The race will be held in conjunction with the annual NASCAR XFINITY Series weekend, which in previous seasons had been scheduled in the month of August. The move to a new late spring date is to accommodate television coverage of the 2020 Summer Olympics. The ARCA Menards Series last raced at Mid-Ohio in 1965, with Springfield, Ohio native Jack Bowsher earning the victory. Since then the series has raced only sporadically on road courses, with a single event on a modified oval at the defunct St. Louis International Raceway in 1986, a pair of races at Heartland Park Topeka in 1991 and 1992, a street circuit event in Des Moines, Iowa in 1994, a single event at Palm Beach International Raceway in 2010, a pair of races at Road America in 2013 and 2017, and nine races at New Jersey Motorsports Park from 2008 through 2016. "We have worked diligently with Craig Rust and his team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for several seasons trying to get the ARCA Menards Series back on their schedule, and we're really happy to make it happen for the 2020 season," said ARCA President Ron Drager. "We have a lot of excitement building for 2020 and additions to our schedule like Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course are a big part of it." (In part from ARCARacing.com) (10-09-19)
  • Chandler Smith wins at Lucas Oil Raceway; fifth victory of season: Chandler Smith closed the night celebrating in victory lane after scoring his fifth ARCA Menards Series victory of the season in Saturday night's rain-shortened Herr's Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis. Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) took the lead from his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) on lap 161. The next time around, a heavy sprinkle turned into a rain shower necessitating a caution flag. The field circulated behind the pace car for five laps before ARCA officials put out the red flag. The rains persisted and officials were forced to end the race 37 laps before its scheduled conclusion. "It was meant to be," Smith said in a makeshift victory lane celebration. "We couldn't have timed that pass out any better than we did." Eckes was disappointed with second, but was able to lock up the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship. "We're obviously disappointed with second," Eckes said, "but it's our sixth top-two finish in a row. We really have things turned around after a tough stretch in the summer. We'd have liked to have had that caution for rain a few laps earlier though." Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota) started from the General Tire Pole and was the dominant driver throughout the first half of the race. Gibbs led the first 143 laps before before contact with Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) while battling for the lead resulted in Gibbs sliding into the wall and damaging the right rear corner of his car. The damage led to a flat right rear tire that put Gibbs into the wall again four laps later. The damage was too severe for Gibbs to continue leaving him 15th at the finish. Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (10-05-19)
  • MAVTV Agrees to Three-Year Broadcast Extension with ARCA: MAVTV has announced an extension of its partnership with the ARCA Menards Series in which the Motorsports Network will broadcast the majority of the events, on the what is currently a 20-race schedule, for the next three seasons. The partnership between the ARCA Menards Series and MAVTV dates back more than a decade, when select races were aired during the 2008 season. The current agreement began three seasons ago, when MAVTV showcased its first live broadcasts of the ARCA Menards Series during the 2017 schedule. Since then, MAVTV’s role has continued to grow as the primary broadcaster of the series, culminating with a 12-race slate of live races for the current 2019 season. With the newly announced extension, MAVTV will continue to serve this role through the 2022 ARCA Menards Series season, where it will showcase the bulk of the championship races via exclusive live broadcasts. "The 2020 season will mark the fourth year MAVTV and ARCA have partnered to bring the majority of the ARCA Menards Series race schedule live to MAVTV,” stated Robert Patison, President MAVTV Motorsports Network. “It's great race action on some of the nation’s best-known tracks." (In part from MAVTV PR) (10-03-19)
  • ARCA Announces New Championship Format and More: NASCAR and ARCA announced today a new championship format for 2020 that will see the continuation of three historic regional championship series and the coronation of a new fourth champion, all under the ARCA Menards Series banner. The series provide an integral development step for young drivers who aspire to move up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series; as well as a highly-competitive professional level for short-track veterans. They will also provide continuity to three of the longest running high-level regional stock car series in the United States. The four championships will be:
      • ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West will continue the traditions established by the Busch North Series (founded in 1987) and Pacific Coast Late Model Series/Winston West (1954) and currently competing as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West. The series will feature an annual schedule of six to eight races and crowning of separate regional champions.
      • ARCA Menards Series – The 20-race ARCA Menards Series, founded in 1953, a mix of national-series combination events at venues such as Daytona International Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as short tracks like Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin and the Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt tracks.
      • ARCA Racing Series Showdown – Ten races within the larger ARCA Menards Series championship will feature the best of the three series coming together to crown a Showdown champion.
    NASCAR also announced if an East, West or current ARCA Menards Series car owner has a car that meets the 2019 rulebook, there will be a rules package that will allow them to compete in 2020. “We’re pleased that we’re able to extend our racing sponsorships to include the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West,” said Menards President & CEO John Menard. “We hope that race fans throughout the country will further enjoy great racing action while also becoming familiar with the Menards brand by shopping at our home improvement stores located in the Midwest or at Menards.com”. ARCA and MAVTV also announced today an extension of its telecast rights agreement for select ARCA Menards Series races. This important partnership, together with events covered by FOX Sports, ensures that all 20 ARCA Menards Series races will be available live to race fans, including the 10-race Showdown. NBCSN will continue to carry the ARCA Menards Series East and West as part of their extensive NASCAR coverage. (In part from ARCARacing.com) (10-02-19)
  • Scott Melton running Lucas Oil and Kansas; back at Daytona test: Scott Melton, who is competing in his second partial ARCA Menards Series season, will race at Lucas Oil and Kansas in October to close out the year. The Michigan driver is currently 18th in driver points despite not competing in 10 races. While Melton's 2020 plans have not been announced, he will be back at the Daytona open test in January with the Kimmel Racing team. (09-28-19)
  • Cole Glasson stepping away from racing effective immediately: Late model and ARCA Menards Series competitor Cole Glasson has made the decision to step away from racing, effective immediately. Glasson, a 19-year-old sophomore at Liberty University pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, made the decision to step away from racing to focus on his education. The Texas native said that despite having the skills necessary to compete at a high level in a race car, he lacked the passion he felt was necessary to race at that level. It is for that reason he has chosen to step away from racing. "On the surface and at the race track, it may have seemed that this passion to race was there, but I just did a good job at making it seem that way," Glasson said. "Honestly, I felt like every single time I stepped on the race track, I would put on a mask that would tell everyone I had the passion to do this. But I didn’t. I felt that I was racing because everyone thought I wanted to race. Of course, I still wanted to live out my faith at the race track and have everyone see Christ in me by the way I carried myself, but I just couldn’t find the passion for racing that every professional race car driver possesses." Glasson expressed a great deal of gratitude to everyone that supported him though the years as he pursued a career in racing, including his family and supporters, the race teams and sponsors. "[I am thankful] for the opportunity I had to drive an ARCA car for Win-Tron Racing. The experience I got driving these cars at almost 200 mph is something that I will never forget." (In part from McCallister Precision Marketing PR) (09-27-19)
  • Josh White joins Vizion Motorsports for 2020 season: West Virginia's Josh White has joined Vizion Motorsports for the 2020 ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series seasons. White, who last raced in ARCA for Hixson Motorsports nearly four years ago, has a signed partnership with Teddy and Jennifer Brown's team that could include the ARCA season opener at Daytona and potentially the full NASCAR Truck series season. The 28 year-old driver states that his schedule is dependent on sponsorship and that more sponsors are needed to race. (09-21-19)
  • Ed Pompa and Fast Track Racing win Salem throwback award: Ed Pompa and Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing Team won the inaugural Jack Harrison trophy at Salem Speedway Saturday night. The newly created award, named for ARCA’s first Salem Speedway winner Jack Harrison, is for the winner of the fan vote for "best throwback scheme". Pompa’s throwback was based on the 1997 Darrell Waltrip 'chrome car'. “I started working with Frontline Wraps in January on this project. Apparently there is only one manufacturer that still makes the chrome vinyl, so it took a while to get. We knew it was going to be a wild throwback, but when Rick finished... wow. Better than expected. I figured it would grab attention, and get more exposure for all the sponsors on the car, plus The Double H Ranch. During the on-track autograph session, everyone who walked by commented what a great looking throwback it was. Thanks to all the fans at Salem Speedway for voting this the 'best throwback scheme'. We all had a lot of fun with it. Darrell Waltrip also loved that the chrome car was back!" (In part from Fast Track Racing PR) (09-17-19)
  • Bret Holmes crowned the CGS Four Crown champion after Salem: As tires began to wear, [Bret] Holmes slipped back to fourth but was able to maintain his position until the end of the event. With Holmes’ fourth-place finish, he was crowned the ARCA Menards Series CGS Four Crown champion. "I’m so thankful that we had a good run tonight at one of my favorite tracks" [said Holmes]. "We had a rough little stint there over the month of July and a race in August, but we persevered and kept our heads up. To come back in September and have a good finish at Salem (Speedway), felt great. We also won the CGS Four Crown championship. That is really cool for me, and an honor to join the names of people like Davey Allison who have won the award. We were able to win the series by being consistent all season long. That starts with this team building fast cars every week. I’m proud of them for this accomplishment. We only have two more races left in the season, but we’re chipping away at the point lead. Our goal is to finish the season strong with a win." (In part from Bret Holmes Racing PR) (09-16-19)
  • Ty Gibbs dominates Salem; scores second career win: Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota) scored a dominant victory in Saturday night's ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. Gibbs thoroughly dominated the entire day as he led the day's practice session, set the fast time in General Tire Pole Qualifying, and led every green flag lap to score his second career series victory. "That's all due to my right foot, the guys who build these great racecars and the man upstairs," Gibbs said in victory lane. "It's great to come out here and get our second win of the season. We aren't racing for the championship so it's all about wins for us." Gibbs finished two seconds ahead of Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), who moved to within five points of championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), who suffered a mechanical problem and finished 14th. "It's great to have Salem behind us," Eckes said. "This isn't my favorite track and to come out of here with that big of a gain on Michael is huge for us. It sucks we couldn't get up there and race Ty for the win but we'll take second and head to Indianapolis and go race for the win there." (In part from ARCARacing.com) (09-15-19)
  • Carson Hocevar running special Bruce VanderLaan throwback car: Carson Hocevar will be racing a Bruce VanderLaan throwback car in Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series race at Salem Speedway. The Zeeland-based KBR Development Super Late Model team, featuring the 16-year old driver from Portage, is racing part-time in ARCA. This weekend’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem, Ind., is a throwback race, where teams are encouraged to rock a paint scheme from yesterday. The throwback choice became easy for KBR officials after learning of Mr. VanderLaan’s passing Monday. KBR owner Mike Bursley texted Tim Horvath of HDFive Monday night about putting together a wrap in honor of Mr. VanderLaan. Horvath, who prepares all wraps for KBR, got busy fast. "Bruce was a great guy and very well known, not only around the Berlin area but in the Midwest," Bursley said. “I was just a little kid, but I have a lot of fond memories of Bruce. "When I bought this race team, Brian Campbell was my driver and Bill McGowan was our crew chief for Brian back in the day, from 2009 to 2011. Bill McGowan was Bruce’s crew chief when Bruce was successful. In a way, we are honoring both of them with this scheme." (In part from mlive.com) (09-14-19)
  • Alex Clubb ends season early; preparing for 2020: 27 year-old Alex Clubb has ended his ARCA season early after having tentative plans of racing in six events this year. Clubb, who originally was supposed to compete this weekend at Salem, suffered motor issues at Toledo Speedway in May which prevented him from entering Madison, Springfield, and DuQuoin. Instead of continuing to work on his steel body car, Clubb has decided to forgo Salem and focus on a new composite body car that he recently purchased in Tennessee. Clubb is currently working on acquiring an Ilmor engine, which will make him more competitive next season with new tires and more knowledge of coil bind setups. (09-14-19)
  • Gavin Harlien paying tribute to Tony Venturini at Salem: Twenty-one-year-old rookie Gavin Harlien (No. 55 Autism Awareness Toyota) will make his third ARCA Menards Series start of the season with Venturini Motorsports in Saturday’s ARCA throwback race - the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. Making the transition from the world of off-road truck racing to stock cars and circle tracks, Harlien will feature the flamboyant colors of Chartreuse and Fuchsia on the reverse side of his Toyota Camry which was once sported by the late Tony Venturini during the 1950’s while racing at Chicago’s Soldier Field and other local tracks. "It’s really cool ARCA does this throwback race at Salem," says Harlien. "I feel lucky to be a part of it especially running with the Venturini's and all the success they’ve had over the years. With decades of family history in this sport It’s truly an honor to run those colors." (In part from Venturini Motorsports PR) (09-12-19)
  • Ed Pompa to run special Darrell Waltrip throwback at Salem: Ed Pompa will be using a 1997 Darrell Waltrip throwback scheme this weekend on his 'Milwaukee Crusher / Double H Ranch' Fast Track Racing Toyota #11 at Salem Speedway. Ed stated, "With Darrell retiring from the broadcast booth this year, I thought it would be cool to do a DW throwback, as a 'thank you'. We are running the #11, which Darrell ran at various times, but this particular scheme was from his #17. I have been working with Frontline Designs on this idea since January. Frontline had planned to do the car Sep 4th, which involved stripping last years’ wrap and installing the new one. Hurricane Dorian delayed the wrapping of the car by almost a week. Rick finished it up Monday night. Now the guys at the shop: Mike, Dick, Jay, Steve and Keith will be hustling to finish up the car. It will be interesting to see the reaction when we roll this car out of the hauler at Salem. There shouldn’t be any problems spotting THIS car on the track!" (In part from Fast Track Racing PR) (09-10-19)
  • Colby Howard racing at Salem Speedway for Win-Tron: Colby Howard will make his return to the ARCA Menards Series at Salem Speedway [this Saturday]. In just three career ARCA starts, Howard has earned three top 10 finishes, with an average finish of 9.0 heading into the weekend. The high banked Indiana short track was the site of Howard’s ARCA Menards Series debut in 2018, where he started and finished in eighth. This time around, the 18-year-old plans on bettering his results with Win-Tron Racing in the No. 32 Project Hope/Yurpal, Inc. Chevrolet. Howard was quoted saying, “I am really looking forward to returning to Salem. We had a good run in the test on Tuesday, and should have had a Top 5 finish in last year’s race until I made a mistake on pit road. This time around, it should be better, because our car is really solid on old tires, which is critical on Salem’s worn out surface.” Earlier this season, Colby Howard debuted for team owner Kevin Cywinski and crew chief Jamie Jones at Iowa Speedway. The No. 32 team finished tenth at Iowa, and plan on bringing the same racecar to Salem. (In part from WinTronRacing.com) (09-10-19)
  • Venturini Motorsports unveils throwback Salem paint schemes: Following NASCAR’s fan favorite throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway, the nostalgia will continue on the high banks of historic Salem Speedway when the ARCA Menards Series returns to action for the 106th all-time series event at Salem on Saturday, September 14. After earning back-to-back team victories on the dirt, VMS looks to continue their winning way with a special throwback tribute of their own. Celebrating the team’s patriarch and two-time ARCA Series Champion (‘87 & ‘91), the team unveiled a pair of Bill Venturini’s retro paint schemes for the upcoming race at Salem Speedway. Honoring Venturini’s first of two ARCA Series championship, Christian Eckes’ No.15 JBL Audio Toyota will carry the iconic 1987 white with blue striped paint scheme. “It’s a great honor to run Bill’s championship colors - especially at Salem,” says current championship contender Christian Eckes. “I’ve known Bill and his family since I broke into the series back in 2016. He’s done so much for me personally and so many others over the years. It’s just a really cool deal. Hopefully we’re able to put this JBL Audio Camry in victory lane for him!” Going further back in time, six time ARCA series winner Chandler Smith, driver of the No.20 Craftsman Toyota, will pay homage by featuring Venturini’s 1978 United States Auto Club (USAC) colors and wheel a black car featuring eye popping orange and blue stripes with gold numbers. (In part from Venturini Motorsports PR) (09-04-19)
  • Christian Eckes wins at DuQuoin; closes point deficit: Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) scored his third ARCA victory of the season with a dominant performance in the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Eckes started outside General Tire Pole Award winner Ken Schrader (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Toyota), and slipped past third-place starter Kelly Kovski (No. 16 Schluckebier Farms/RaceTires.com Chevrolet) on lap 10 to take the lead and led the rest of the way to take his second career ARCA win on dirt. "I don't know if you can call me a dirt track expert just yet," Eckes laughed in victory lane. "I tried to drive Springfield and DuQuoin like dirt tracks last year and burned everything off the car I could. We tried some new things here tonight and I drove the track more like a pavement track and it really paid off." Eckes finished in 0.443 seconds in front of his Venturini Motorsports teammate, and defending race winner, Logan Seavey (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota). Seavey started tenth and methodically worked his way towards the front of the field. He utilized lap traffic to work past his other Venturini Motorsports teammate Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) to take over second with 28 laps to go. From there Seavey was able to stay within sight of Eckes but he couldn't close in enough to seriously challenge. Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (09-01-19)
  • Tyler Speer to drive for Fast Track at DuQuoin: Drag boat champion Tyler Speer will return to racing on dry land this weekend as he makes his first appearance of the season in the ARCA Menards Series in Saturday night's Southern Illinois 100 on the Magic Mile at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Speer will drive the No. 11 Phillip Smith Contracting/Wallace Electric Toyota for 1995 ARCA champ Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track High Performance Racing team. It will be a busy weekend for Speer and his family as they have to be in two different race tracks in two different states in a matter of hours on Saturday and Sunday. "We're going to drop our rig and get set up for the drag boat races in Livermore, Kentucky on Friday," Speer said. "Then we'll head up to DuQuoin for the ARCA race on Saturday and as soon as that's over head back to Livermore for boats on Sunday." (In part from ARCARacing.com) (08-31-19)
  • Ken Schrader returning at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds: Ken Schrader will strap in for the Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin on Saturday night. Schrader will pilot his familiar No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Ford in what will be his 83rd career ARCA Menards Series start. Schrader's most recent ARCA Menards Series appearance came at WWT Raceway at Gateway just outside of St. Louis in June 2018. He started and finished eleventh. In 14 career starts at DuQuoin, Schrader has three wins, eleven top-five and thirteen top-ten finishes. He also has three General Tire Pole Awards on his resume at the Magic Mile, tied for the all-time lead. (In part from ARCARacing.com) (08-31-19)
  • Michael Self wins at Springfield; scores first dirt win: Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) held off his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) on a two-lap dash to the checkered to earn his fourth series victory of the season. Self, the current series championship leader, took the lead from another Venturini Motorsports teammate and General Tire Pole Award winner Logan Seavey (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) shortly after halfway. From there, Self build a nearly four-second advantage over the field until an incident in turn four involving Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) and Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) with less than ten laps to go. The race would get restarted at the scheduled conclusion, lap 100, for a green-white-checkered dash to the checkered. Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (08-24-19)
  • Logan Seavey Returns to Venturini for Springfield and DuQuoin: Logan Seavey is ready to make his return to the seat of Venturini Motorsports’ (VMS) No. 20 Turn One Steering / Craftsman Toyota in the ARCA Menards Series for back-to-back appearances on two of Illinois’ legendary dirt tracks - Springfield (August 18) and DuQuoin (August 31). A native of Sutter, California, Seavey made two ARCA starts in 2018 with VMS. During his ARCA debut at the Illinois Fairgrounds in Springfield, Seavey started fourth and finished third. In his second series race the 21-year old driver tapped into his new found stock car experience and drove to victory lane just weeks later at the DuQuoin State Fairground’s Magic Mile. “I’m super excited and thankful to get another chance to run the dirt races in the ARCA series with Venturini Motorsports,” said the 21-year old driver. “With the success of last year’s races and all of the knowledge I’ve gained since then I know we will have a really good shot at both races this year. I have more experience with pit road, restarts, and just driving stock cars in general so I feel like I have a better grasp to put together all the variables it takes to win a stock car race.” (In part from Venturini Motorsports PR) (07-30-19)
  • ARCA to race at ISM Raceway (Phoenix) in 2020: ISM Raceway has announced two regional series races in 2020 as part of the track’s continued support of grassroots racing. The first of the two events will be an ARCA Menards Series event during the FanShield 500 NASCAR weekend. The spring event, set for March 6, 2020, is a new addition to ISM Raceway’s schedule and will feature the best of the ARCA Menards Series as well as the top regional series stock car drivers from the East and West. The series is the top developmental ladder for drivers looking to make the next step to one of NASCAR’s three national series as well as a proving ground for some of the best short-track veterans. They are all battling it out for bragging rights, checkered flags and championship trophies. (In part from ISMRaceway.com) (07-28-19)
  • Christian Eckes wins at Pocono Raceway: Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) made a statement that he will be a threat for the ARCA Menards Series championship with a dominant victory in Friday’s FORTS USA 150 at Pocono Raceway. Eckes took control on lap 35 when the dominant driver in the early stages of the race, General Tire Pole Award winner Todd Gilliland (No. 18 Frontline Enterprises Toyota), was penalized for a blend line violation after his only pit stop of the afternoon. Eckes led the final 26 laps of the caution free race to score his second win of the season and fifth overall. Once Eckes was alerted by his crew that he would be the leader after Gilliland’s penalty, he kept his head in the game to minimize mistakes. "Once they told me what happened to the 18 it was all about keeping our heads down and not making any mistakes," Eckes said. "We knew there was a long way to go and we needed to be perfect to close it out." With his second win of the season, Eckes closes the gap on his Venturini Motorsports teammate and championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), who finished third. Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (07-27-19)
  • Willie Mullins set for Pocono Raceway debut: Willie Mullins and Mullins Racing are heading to the picturesque Pocono Mountains for their third start of the ARCA Menards Series campaign. Mullins, the owner/driver of the No. 3 Mullins Racing Ford, will be making his debut at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., during the FORTS USA 150. The race at the track known as the ‘Tricky Triangle’ will serve as a bit of a home game for several members of the Mullins Racing crew. "A lot of our crew live in the Pocono area, so it’s a homecoming for them to get to run their local track," Mullins explained. "Kevin Belmont, our spotter, is from up there. George Kerner and all of those guys, that is where their home is. It’s kind of a homecoming for them and I’m glad we can run their local track." The FORTS USA 150 will mark the third race for Mullins and company during the ARCA Menards Series season and they’ll be looking to turn their luck around after two difficult races at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February and Charlotte Motor Speedway in May that saw the team register finishes of 35th and 17th, respectively. "We want to come out of there and not tear up a race car," Mullins said. "We’ve raced two times this year and we’ve left the track with torn up cars two times this year. We’re expecting a top-15 finish, we just need to go out there and not tear up the car." Joining Mullins at Pocono Raceway will once again be veteran crew chief Tony Furr, who has worked with Mullins and Mullins Racing in both of the organization’s previous ARCA starts this season. (In part from Mullins Racing PR) (07-24-19)
  • Chandler Smith scores fourth win at Iowa Speedway: Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) put a period on a clean sweep of the ARCA Menards Series Fans with Benefits 150 with a dominant victory Friday night at Iowa Speedway. Smith led the first 106 laps before losing the lead on pit road during the penultimate caution flag of the night. Once back under green, it took him just 10 laps to knife his way through the field to retake the lead from Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota) to lead the final 35 laps. The win is Smith's fourth of the season, and his fourth consecutive ARCA Menards Series short track victory. Smith wasn't hampered at all by traffic or the dreaded aero push as he sliced his way through the field. "The only time I ever felt the car respond to aero all night was when I passed a lap car on the outside," Smith said. "Other than that it was perfect. I can't thank Billy and the rest of the Venturini Motorsports team for giving me such a great car here. To have four wins on the season is a dream come true." Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (07-22-19)
  • Colby Howard joins Win-Tron Racing for Iowa Speedway: Thirteen months ago, teenager Colby Howard made his most recent start in the ARCA Menards Series with a top ten result at Madison International Speedway. This weekend, he returns to the national touring series with Win-Tron Racing and the Project HOPE Foundation at Iowa Speedway for the third start of his career. A year ago, Howard was a relatively unknown driver who performed well with a pair of top ten finishes in two ARCA starts after graduating from late model stock cars in South Carolina and surrounding areas. This year, he brings a much beefier stat sheet, having won multiple pro late model races with Anthony Campi Racing including a handful of statement wins over short track veterans like Bubba Pollard and Augie Grill at tracks like Five Flags Speedway and Montgomery Motor Speedway. "I'm really excited to be back in the ARCA Menards Series and making my first start with Win-Tron this weekend," said Howard. "With our pro late model success, I was really wanting to try my hand at a bigger car again. I feel like I've grown as a driver and my management team at PMG hooked me up with Kevin Cywinski and Win-Tron to give me the opportunity to showcase my talents at this level once more. I've always enjoyed tracks where there are multiple grooves, and that's one reason I'm looking forward to Iowa this weekend. It's the biggest and fastest track I've ever been on, too." (In part from ARCARacing.com) (07-18-19)
  • Chandler Smith wins at Elko Speedway: Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) recovered from a mid-race spin to win the Menards 250 at Elko Speedway on Saturday night. Smith, who started seventh, was dominant throughout the race, able to drive way to a full straightaway lead on several occasions on his way to his third series victory of the season. Although he had the dominant car, Smith did have to work for it. He slid in oil laid down in turn one by another competitor and spun on lap 146 and dropped to the tail of the lead lap. By virtue of a fast car and numerous mid-race cautions that continued to jumble the running order, Smith was able to knife his way back to the lead by lap 209. From there, he was able to drive away to nearly a full straightaway lead crossing the stripe 4.147 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota). Full Results (In part from ARCARacing.com) (07-18-19)
  • Howie DiSavino III to make debut at Elko with Win-Tron Racing: Howie DiSavino III announced he will make his ARCA Menards Series debut at Elko Speedway on July 13. DiSavino will be racing a car prepared by WinTron Racing in the 250-lap event. "It’s insane how quickly all this has happened, but I’m stoked to be making my ARCA debut at Elko Speedway next weekend," DiSavino said. "I think Elko will fit my style well, as I’ve grown up on bullrings like Southside Speedway in Virginia, and Elko is one of those kinds of places. I can’t thank Kevin Cywinski enough for putting faith in me to drive one of his cars and to PMG for making it all come together so fast." Prior to making his ARCA debut, DiSavino has competed exclusively on short tracks near his home outside Richmond, Va. Appropriately, Brad Gramm and Mass Mutual Greater Richmond is assisting in DiSavino’s jump to the ARCA Menards Series as the primary sponsor for next weekend’s event. (In part from SpeedSport.com) (07-10-19)
  • Venturini crew chief Kevin Reed penalized after Chicagoland: Based on activities during the ARCA Menards Series Bounty 150 at Chicagoland Speedway Thursday June 27, Venturini Motorsports crew chief Kevin Reed has been penalized for 2019 ARCA Rulebook violations. The violations include page 12, Section 4, #5 which references professional conduct and page 64, #4 H iv. which references presenting ECU to Ilmor for data download. Reed has been fined $250 and placed on probation for an indefinite period of time. (In part from ARCARacing.com) (07-03-19)