Scroll down to view past ARCA Racing Series news and rumors.

December 2016

  • Leilani Münter to compete at Daytona with Venturini: Leilani Münter has announced that she will drive the No. 15 Vegan Powered Toyota at Daytona for Venturini Motorsports. Münter, who last raced in the series in 2015, has eight previous starts in the series over the span of four years. The Minnesota driver will "bring a powerful vegan message to millions of race fans" when her vegan-themed car hits the track in February. (In part from (12-31-16)
  • Vinnie Miller to race full time in ARCA with Ranier/MDM?: 19 year-old Vinnie Miller is rumored to race full time in ARCA next year with Ranier Racing with MDM. Miller, who relocated to North Carolina after high school graduation, competed in several CARS Super Late Model and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) races in 2016 to build experience. Miller's ultimate goal is to advance to one of NASCAR's top three divisions. (12-31-16)
  • Athenian Motorsports not expected to return next season: Athenian Motorsports, owned by Zaxby's co-founder Tony Townley, is not expected to return to ARCA competition in 2017 after making 14 starts this year. The team has sold equipment to Joe Gibbs Racing and is rumored to have ceased operations. Athenian won the season opening race at Daytona and fielded entries for John Wes Townley, Parker Kligerman, and Cole Custer. It is unknown if owner points will be transferred to another team. (12-29-16)
  • UNOH extends contract with ARCA: Officials from the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) have announced that UNOH has extended its contract as the Official and Exclusive Educational Partner of the ARCA Racing Series. The one-year agreement extends the ARCA/UNOH promotional relationship to 15 years, one of the longest partnerships in the ARCA sanction. "Every year since our partnership began with ARCA, we have averaged 35-45 students that want to be a part of this program," said Dr. Jeff Jarvis, UNOH president. "We have many students that have attended UNOH, participated in the ARCA Club and graduated with job offers from ARCA teams. It's a great program, and one that provides real-life experience for our students who aspire to work in the motorsports industry." (In part from (12-24-16)
  • Ansell and Menards not returning as a team sponsor in 2017?: Ansell and Menards, which have served as co-sponsors in ARCA for eight seasons, are rumored to be leaving the series as a team sponsor. The two companies joined forces in 2009 to support Frank Kimmel and Kimmel Racing. Years later, the sponsorship moved with Kimmel to ThorSport Racing (2013), Win-Tron Racing (2014), and Venturini Motorsports (2015). In what is rumored to be the final year, Ansell and Menards joined Ken Schrader Racing to sponsor Matt Kurzejewski in his first full ARCA season. (12-23-16)
  • John Hayden Racing seeking funded driver for Daytona: John Hayden Racing is searching for a funded driver for the season opening race at Daytona. John Hayden, who has been Brett Hudson's car owner and crew chief since 2011, does not expect the 29 year-old Kentucky driver back. Interested parties can contact the team at (270) 929-9537 for more information. (12-22-16)
  • Justin Fontaine expected to drive for AM Racing/Win-Tron OFFICIAL: 19 year-old Justin Fontaine is expected to drive for AM Racing/Win-Tron in ARCA competition next year. Fontaine joined the team in October for the NASCAR Camping World Series event at Martinsville, where he finished 26th. The North Carolina driver has three years of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series experience and four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts for Martin-McClure Racing. AM Racing and Win-Tron Racing announced a partnership in August and stated that it would field two cars in 2017. (12-02-16)
    OFFICIAL: [Justin] Fontaine will run in ARCA Racing Series events for Win-Tron Racing, the driver development partner of AM Racing next season. Fontaine will partake in the upcoming test session at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway next month, then return for the series' season-opener on Feb. 18. "We're extremely pleased and glad to have Justin back with AM Racing in 2017," said AM Racing team principal Tim Self. "Justin is a hardcore racer with a desire to work hard on and off the track, while carrying an upbeat contagious demeanor. We're eager to see his progression and success next year." Justin Fontaine is the younger cousin of longtime Truck Series competitor and Florida short track ace Chris Fontaine. (In part from AM Racing PR) (12-21-16)
  • Universe Racing partners with XG Industries: Race fans will have a chance to see Universe Racing's ARCA Racing Series No. 40 Chevy Impala on display and meet driver Steve Fox in the XG Industries booth at Motorsports 2017. The northeast's largest race car and trade show, Motorsports 2017, will take place at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA from January 20-22, 2017. (In part from (12-21-16)
  • Dustin Knowles NOT returning to Jent; seeking part-time ride: Alabama driver Dustin Knowles announced today that he will not be back with Jent Motorsports in 2017, despite the Jent team announcing his return in October. Knowles also added that he is seeking a part-time ride for the upcoming season.
    "Good afternoon! A lot of people have asked me what I am going to be doing in 2017, and to be honest, I am still ironing out the wrinkles. I will not be back with Jent Motorsports for ARCA next year. However, I am looking to secure a ride for a handful of races and will be releasing more details soon." (In part from Dustin Knowles Facebook) (12-20-16)
  • Our Motorsports to attempt Daytona with Andy Seuss: Car owner Chris Our and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour veteran Andy Seuss will team up again in 2017 for the ARCA season opener at Daytona. The pair joined forces this year at Talladega, where they finished 31st after suffering brake issues. Our Motorsports made its series debut in 2015 with Tommy Barrett Jr, while Seuss has three career starts. More races could be added later depending on how their season progresses. (12-19-16) 
  • Finney Racing Enterprises expanding schedule next year: Florida based Finney Racing Enterprises will return to ARCA competition in 2017 and will compete in an expanded schedule. Drivers Brian Finney and Scott Reeves will again be teammates in select events.
    Long-time competitor Brian Finney will be at the season opening race at Daytona as a car owner. Finney has purchased a superspeedway car and will field an entry for a driver that has previously competed at the track. Afterward, Finney intends to run all short track events. These include Nashville, both Salem races, Toledo, Elko, Madison, Iowa, Lucas Oil, and Winchester.
    Scott Reeves, who made his series debut in 2015, will compete at Nashville, Toledo, and Lucas Oil. Reeves has built a new race shop on his property and has acquired a composite car for the upcoming season. More races could added depending on if a funded driver can be secured. (12-16-16)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing to field full time entry for Riley Herbst: Joe Gibbs Racing will expand into the ARCA Racing Series next year with a full-time entry for Las Vegas native Riley Herbst. The 17-year-old racer is coming off a season where he competed in the K&N NASCAR Pro East and West series. Under Bill McAnally Racing and NAPA Automotive, Riley completed 17 races, recording seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishing spots in the K&N East and West. “I’m so appreciative of Bill McAnally and his entire racing crew. They were an incredible group of people to work with and learn from. They were an instrumental part of my career. Having the opportunity to join Joe Gibbs Racing will take me to the next level” said Herbst. “It’s great to have Riley join Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Steve deSouza, executive vice president of XFINITY/Development. “He has experienced success in a variety of racing venues and we want to provide him the opportunity to continue that success at this level of competition.” Herbst’s will drive the No. 18 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series and his sponsor and crew chief will be announced at a later date. (In part from Joe Gibbs Racing PR) (12-15-16)
  • Kevin Hinckle testing at Daytona; racing at Kansas for Kimmel: KH Automotive owner and ARCA driver Kevin Hinckle will return to Kimmel Racing in 2017 for the Daytona test session in January and the season ending race at Kansas Speedway on October 20th. Hinckle, who joined the Kimmel organization this year, is seeking sponsorship and could potentially compete in more events if funding is found. The Kansas native earned his career best finish last October at the helm of the No. 69 E3 Spark Plugs Ford. (12-14-16)
  • General Tire gives spirit award to Brad Smith: General Tire presented a very special Spirit Award to veteran driver Brad Smith during the Annual ARCA Racing Series awards banquet in Indianapolis this past weekend. The General Tire Spirit Award was established this year to recognize someone within the ARCA racing community who has demonstrated true sportsmanship both on and off the track as well as perseverance when faced with major challenges. The award included a one-of-a kind helmet custom painted by Indocil Art and $5,000 which was split evenly between Smith and his designated charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit. “Receiving the General Tire Spirit Award is a humbling and gratifying experience,” admitted Smith. “Humbling, because I know how many deserving recipients General Tire had to consider for the award. Gratifying, because this is ultimately a team sport and being recognized by General Tire is an accomplishment for the entire Hylton Motorsports team.” (In part from General Tire PR) (12-14-16)
  • Menards returning as presenting sponsor: Officials from Menards Inc. have announced that the Wisconsin-based home improvement retailer will once again serve as the presenting sponsor of the ARCA Racing Series for 2017. Jeff Abbott, Promotions Manager and Spokesperson for Menards, made the announcement Saturday night, during the annual ARCA Racing Series Championship Awards Banquet in downtown Indianapolis. “We are very excited to return for an eighth season as the series sponsor,” said Abbott while announcing the contract extension. “This is such a great, grass roots series and the competitive nature of the driving continues to improve. But, more than anything, what keeps us coming back is how we feel so connected with those who follow this series throughout our markets as we sell tickets to races, run contractor events and continue to promote the Menards brand. 2017 should be exceptional and we’re glad to remain a part of it.” (In part from (12-12-16)
  • Tommy Praytor gives speech of the night at banquet: Max Force Racing owner Tommy Praytor gave a tremendous speech at the ARCA banquet on Saturday night that has many people talking. Listen to audio from Brian Eberly. ( (12-12-16)
  • Dale Shearer back for more races in 2017: Racer and computer programmer Dale Shearer will be back in 2017 and may compete in an expanded ARCA Racing Series schedule. Shearer plans on attempting the season opener at Daytona, along with races at Salem, Lucas Oil, Springfield, DuQuoin, Salem (2), Chicagoland, Kentucky, and Kansas. However, these plans may change. The veteran driver could also race at Nashville and Talladega depending on time and the shape of his Daytona car. (12-11-16)
  • AJ Fike; RFMS Racing planning on full season: AJ Fike and RFMS Racing are planning on running the full ARCA season in 2017. This will be the Indiana driver's first full season since he competed with Fast Track Racing in 2004. Fike, who finished 9th in driver points, only raced in 15 events this year. (12-11-16)
  • Dalton Sargeant joins Cunningham Motorsports for 2017; Ford support: Cunningham Motorsports has a lot to celebrate at the banquet later this evening. But, they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels... they are looking forward to next season, when they plan to contend for back to back championships.
    The first order of business at the press conference, held in conjunction with the annual PRI show, was Jeff Clark, speaking on behalf of Ford Performance, announced that the Cunningham organization has been designated as a driver development partner with Ford Performance. In making the announcement, Clark, who is Vice President of Sales for Roush Yates Engines, stated, “Ford Performance recognizes the championship caliber teams that Cunningham Motorsports delivers on track. Ford Performance has designated Cunningham Motorsports as a driver development partner for 2017 and will support their teams with assets within the Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, NC. We look forward to another strong year in the ARCA Racing Series.”
    As the next piece of the 2017 puzzle, Cunningham Motorsports co-owner, Kerry Scherer announced that Dalton Sargeant has signed to pilot the No. 77 for the 2016 ARCA Racing Series champions. In making his announcement, Scherer said, “We are so excited, here at Cunningham Motorsports, to welcome Dalton to our organization. Working together, we should be able to capitalize on his top finishes this season, along with our championship team.” As the next driver of the No. 77 Ford, Sargeant commented, “I couldn’t be more excited to join Cunningham Motorsports, Ford Performance and the No. 77 team as we battle for the 2017 ARCA Racing Series championship. I’m really looking forward to working with Chad Bryant, Paul Andrews and the entire Cunningham Motorsports team.” (In part from Sargeant Motorsports PR) (12-10-16)
  • Ray Ciccarelli forming own team; to compete at Daytona & Talladega: Maryland driver Ray Ciccarelli has formed his own ARCA team and will compete at the superspeedways races in 2017. It is also possible that he will run four more events later in the season, but it will depend on the outcome of the initial two. Ciccarelli has purchased a car from Lira Motorsports and is having it prepared at Kimmel Racing for the season opening race at Daytona. The 46 year-old driver has eight prior starts in the series and has a career high finish of 19th. (12-09-16)
  • Christian Eckes returning to Venturini for 9 short track races: Sixteen-year old Christian Eckes will return to Venturini Motorsports for nine short track races in the upcoming 2017 ARCA Racing Series season. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Christian Eckes’ dramatic super late model victory earlier in the week at the prestigious 49th annual Snowball Derby. Eckes, a native of Middletown, New York, made four starts with VMS in 2016. “We got to race with Christian a little bit last year and he demonstrated a lot of potentiation and raw speed,” said Billy Venturini, VMS team owner and general manager. “Towards the end of 2016 he was able to further demonstrate those abilities and turn them into impressive late model wins. We feel very confident going into the 2017 season that Christian is going to have great success.” Eckes will rejoin VMS driving the No. 15 Toyota Camry starting in Nashville. Eckes’ 2017 ARCA schedule will also include; Salem, Toledo, Elko, Madison, Iowa, Lucas Oil, Winchester and Salem (September 9). (In part from Venturini Motorsports PR) (12-09-16)
  • Gus Dean and GREE join Win-Tron Racing for full 2017 season: Days after announcing a multi-year agreement with GREE, the world's largest manufacturer of specialized Cooling & Heating Products, Gus Dean will drive full time for Win-Tron Racing next season in the ARCA Racing Series. Dean will drive the team's flagship car, the No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry for a full 20-race season championship effort beginning with February's season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Sat., Feb. 18, 2017. Motorsports veteran Todd Myers will serve as Dean's crew chief for his first full season of ARCA competition. "Man, I'm thankful to have this opportunity to join Win-Tron Racing for the full 2017 ARCA Racing Series schedule," said Bluffton, S.C. native Gus Dean. "I really believe that we will have the chance to go out and compete to win races and ultimately compete for the ARCA championship." (In part from Gus Dean Racing PR) (12-08-16)
  • Jent Motorsports not expected back in 2017; equipment repossessed?: Despite announcing Chris Bailey Jr. and Dustin Knowles as drivers for the 2017 season, Jent Motorsports is not expected to return to ARCA competition next year. The team has been in financial trouble and has allegedly not met its financial obligations to creditors and crew members. Furthermore, rumors indicate that Jent's cars and equipment were recently repossessed. Team owner Darrell Jent Jr. started the team this past January after settling a workplace injury lawsuit for $3 million in April 2012. Jent allegedly used money from selling one of his houses to fund the team, as he reportedly cannot pull money out of a maturity bond without taking a significant financial hit. Jent Motorsports made 17 starts this season with drivers Dustin Knowles, Cory Howard, Michael Whipple, and Morgen Baird. Knowles recorded the team's best finish of 12th at Winchester in June. An email to Jent Motorsports officials was not returned. (12-07-16)
  • Willie Mullins racing again at Daytona; team offering second car: Road course specialist Willie Mullins will return to ARCA in February for the season opening event at Daytona. Mullins, who scored an 8th place finish last year, will again drive the No. 34 Crow Wing Recycling Ford. Andy Belmont is scheduled to be back as his crew chief, along with associate sponsor Bugsy's Automotive. In addition to fielding the No. 34 Ford, Mullins Racing is looking to run a second entry with a funded driver. Interested parties can receive more information by calling (218) 330-9022 or sending a message through the team's website. (12-07-16)
  • Tom Hessert to return to Venturini Motorsports?: ARCA veteran Tom Hessert is rumored to be returning to Venturini Motorsports in 2017. Hessert, who was the championship runner-up this year, joined the organization in January and went on to score a win at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey driver would begin his eleventh career season by competing at Daytona in February. (12-06-16)
  • Casey Johnson and Dalton Armstrong testing at Daytona: The ARCA Racing Series "Road to Daytona" is wide open for Casey Johnson and Dalton Armstrong. Johnson, the 2016 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year, and Armstrong, the 2016 ARCA/CRA Super Series Rookie of the Year, have earned the opportunity to participate in ARCA's Road to Daytona at the ARCA-sanctioned open test at Daytona Int'l Speedway in mid-January, 2017. Each champion from the ARCA/CRA Super Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour earn the opportunity to go to Daytona and participate in the Road to Daytona. However, ARCA/CRA champ Cody Coughlin has already raced in competition at Daytona while ARCA Midwest champ Ty Majeski has participated in ARCA's Road to Daytona twice before. Consequently, the Road to Daytona program defers to the Rookies of the Year, and in this case, Johnson and Armstrong. Andy Hillenburg, the 1995 ARCA driving champion and two-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner, will help coach this year's Road to Daytona drivers. His Fast Track High Performance Driving School, ARCA's Official Driving School, will provide a Chevrolet ARCA car and additional team support for the test. (In part from (12-06-16)
  • Gus Dean to run full time in 2017 with GREE sponsorship; returning to Win-Tron Racing?: [Gus Dean] has locked up GREE Cooling Products in a multiyear sponsorship deal, set to run a full ARCA schedule next year with an eye on moving into the NASCAR pipeline perhaps as soon as 2018. "We can't thank GREE enough for everything they've done, the massive amount of faith they've put into me," Dean said Tuesday. "I'm watching my dreams unfold before my eyes." The 22-year-old driver can set his calendar for the entire 20-race ARCA schedule, beginning with a return trip in February to Daytona International Speedway. "We know Gus has the ability to continue his winning ways in his first full season of ARCA competition and contend for a championship, while also looking ahead on the horizon to a path in NASCAR," said Dave Pearson, president of Tradewinds Climate Systems. "We can't wait for Daytona to get here." (In part from (11-30-16)
    UPDATE: Rumors are circulating that Gus Dean will return to Win-Tron Racing in 2017. Dean joined the team this year for the season ending Kansas 150 at Kansas Speedway, where he finished 25th. The South Carolina driver is expected to announce his plans on Thursday, December 8th at the PRI trade show in Indianapolis, Indiana. (12-05-16)
  • JJ Pack working on Daytona deal; forming own team in 2017: Super Cup Stock Car Series champion JJ Pack is currently in talks with multiple teams to run the ARCA season opener at Daytona in February. Pack, who attempted the race last year with Cushman Racing, also plans to run an undetermined number of races afterward with his own team. The newly formed JP Racing organization will announce specific races and details at a later date. (12-04-16)
  • Dalton Sargeant to join Cunningham Motorsports?: Dalton Sargeant, the 2016 ARCA Rookie of the Year, is rumored to be joining Cunningham Motorsports next season. The Florida driver competed in 15 events this year and scored his first victory at Berlin Raceway in August. Sargeant would potentially drive the No. 77, replacing champion Chase Briscoe who is rumored to be heading to NASCAR. A Cunningham Motorsports spokesperson has stated that the team will have a press conference during the Performance Racing Industry trade show on Saturday, December 10 at 2:00. The team will make at least two announcements, including one that will name a driver for the upcoming season. (12-03-16)
  • Gene Paul; ESP Motorsports back for Daytona and Talladega: Veteran SCCA stock car road course driver Gene Paul will return to ARCA competition in 2017 for the superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega. Paul, who used owner points from Roulo Bros. last year, will not carry the No. 17 again and will likely have to make the Daytona race on speed. The Florida driver already has secured associate sponsorship from and, but needs additional financial support to lease an Ilmor engine. Paul has ARCA veteran Mario Gosselin assisting him, as he attempts to place a Dodge in the Daytona starting lineup for the last time before ARCA rules make it ineligible to compete. (12-01-16)