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

January 2017

  • Tom Hessert returning to Venturini for 5 races: Tom Hessert announced today his return to Venturini Motorsports with an abbreviated 2017 race schedule beginning with the series’ season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Coming off of a career best, second-place finish in last year’s ARCA National Championship standings, Hessert will return to the series for five selected events in 2017. With six ARCA victories in 179 starts, Hessert is slated to pilot VMS’ No.25 Toyota at Daytona Int’l Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Illinois State Fairgrounds, DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and the Fall Salem Speedway race. “Although it’s going to be a different look for me this season I’m really excited to rejoin Venturini Motorsports and the 25-team,” says Hessert. “I’m not sure if it was necessarily by design but the schedule we put together includes some of my favorite tracks – tracks I’ve had a lot of success on in the past.” (In part from Venturini Motorsports PR) (01-31-17)
  • FOX Sports Media Group to televise 10 races: Officials from the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and FOX Sports Media Group announced today the 2017 broadcast schedule for the ARCA Racing Series. FOX Sports will broadcast 10 ARCA events again this season, half of the series schedule. At least nine of the 10 races will be telecast on FS1 in 2017. FS1 waves the green flag on the 65th season of ARCA Racing Series competition with the traditional season opener at Daytona International Speedway Saturday, Feb. 18. In addition to Daytona, races from Talladega Superspeedway May 5, Toledo Speedway May 21, both Pocono events (June 9 and July 28), Michigan International Speedway June 16, Lucas Oil Raceway July 21, Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 14 and Kentucky Speedway Sept. 22 will all air on FS1. The season finale from Kansas Speedway Oct. 20 is currently scheduled to air on FS2, but the possibility exists that it could shift to FS1, depending on the Major League Baseball postseason. (In part from ARCARacing.com) (01-31-17)
  • Michael Self testing at Daytona; attempting race UPDATE: 26 year-old Michael Self will participate in this weekend's test session at Daytona, in preparation for the season opener in February. The Utah driver will have sponsorship from Sinclair Oil Corporation. Self returned to ARCA last season, finishing third at Kansas Speedway. He made two previous starts in 2014 for Venturini Motorsports. (01-11-17)
    UPDATE: Michael Self returns to the track with Sinclair Oil Corporation as a primary partner for the No. 28 Toyota Camry. “There really is no way to describe how fortunate and excited I am for the opportunity to compete at Daytona International Speedway,” Self said. “To be behind the wheel of the No. 28 Sinclair Toyota at Daytona is an almost unimaginable privilege. It really hasn’t hit me yet. I’ve been working on sponsorship opportunities to start the season at Daytona for more than five years, and now it’s actually happening with my dream sponsor, Sinclair Oil Corporation.” Self’s effort will be overseen by newly-appointed MDM Motorsports crew chief Shane Huffman. This will be the duo’s first time working together with Self behind the wheel, but the two previously worked side-by-side as a driver coach/crew chief combo at Turner-Scott Motorsports. (In part from MichaelSelfRacing.com) (01-30-17)
  • Max Force Racing seeking Daytona tire sponsors: The Mobile, Alabama based Max Force race team is celebrating its 20th season in 2017 and what better way to start than to turn the Moose loose in Daytona! Superspeedway tires are the most expensive tires on the tour at $2,000 a set and we need 2 sets! We are looking for 8 sponsors at $500/tire! Each tire sponsor will receive a Max Force Racing work shirt, a 5" 20th anniversary decal and their 4x6 sticker by the rear tire well on both sides of the car. Mail a check to Max Force Racing, 3912 Cottage Hill Road, Mobile, AL 36609. (In part from Max Force Racing PR) (01-30-17)
  • KMC Wheels to sponsor Zane Smith; Venturini: KMC Wheels has entered into a sponsorship agreement with ARCA Racing Series’ rookie of the year candidate, Zane Smith, for the upcoming 2017 racing season. KMC Wheels, a leading automobile wheel manufacture and distributor located in Southern California, will partner with Zane Smith and his Venturini Motorsports backed Toyota team to promote the company’s popular KMC Truck and SUV Wheel brand. “We’re proud to support Zane’s efforts with our KMC Wheel Brand for the upcoming ARCA season. Zane’s youth and talent compliments our overall KMC target demographic and appeals to a large segment of the U.S. light and heavy truck market consumer base,” says Todd Hayes, Global Director of Sports Marketing and Events for Wheel Pros, LLC. Smith, a seventeen-year old native of Huntington Beach, California, will appear in 18 of 20 ARCA Racing Series events for Venturini Motorsports. (In part from Venturini Motorsports PR) (01-24-17)
  • Harrison Burton joins MDM Motorsports for select ARCA races: Harrison Burton will be very busy in 2017. As announced earlier, Harrison [will] compete in a partial NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. He recently reached an agreement with MDM Motorsports to compete for a championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East as well as racing in select ARCA races. “I’m truly fortunate to compete with three teams that will give me the best chance to have success at the highest levels. I’m incredibly grateful to have not one, but six, corporate partners so committed to my future and that of the sport,” Burton said. Rheem Manufacturing will sponsor a select number of K&N Pro Series East and ARCA races. (In part from TheHarrisonBurton.com) (01-18-17)
  • Calvin Carroll impressive at Daytona: The last time Calvin Carroll had the chance to visit Daytona he was just a young kid running Quarter Midgets. This past weekend 16-year-old Carroll of Andover, N.J., was back only this time he was part of the action. During the two days of ARCA Racing Series open testing, Carroll was making his first ever laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. “It was awesome...it was the best thing I’ve ever driven to this point in my career. I was nervous at first but not long after my first laps that all went away,” said Carroll. Carroll was running Bryan Dauzat’s No. 57c Chevrolet that was prepared by legendary engine builders Bob and Dick Rahilly. Dauzat invited Carroll to test the car. “I ran about a half dozen laps by myself and then moved into a group of cars and I felt comfortable. You of course had to pay attention a lot more and just follow the car in front of. If you fell back a little bit you could catch right back up again. We passed a few cars and all in all it was a great experience,” Carroll said. Carroll, by age restrictions, can't yet compete on superspeedways, but the youngster has cleared the first hurdle in the approval process once he's old enough. In the end, it was just a test run and although he was able to make the most of it, the car will be run by Dauzat. But, depending upon the right circumstances, Carroll is hopeful for a drive in the not too distant future. “There’s nothing for sure at the present but I’m hoping and keeping my options open to possibly do something with an ARCA car in the upcoming season,” he said. Until that happens Carroll will be back in the Modified where this season he plans to run for Rookie of the Year honors with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. (In part from ARCARacing.com) (01-17-17)
  • Mike Affarano posts on Facebook about Daytona testing UPDATE: Mike Affarano has posted the following message on Facebook about Daytona testing.
    "People are writing articles talking about why I have not had a car at Daytona test it's simple I was not paid Russel Henderson took the drivers money and spent it now he's trying to make excuses to cover his ass the drivers know the truth Arca knows the truth and yet he continues to spread lies I have all the documentation to prove my hand and I will be filing a defamation of character lawsuit in the morning" (Mike Affarano Facebook) (01-15-17)
    UPDATE: Affarano Motorsports has released a new statement regarding Daytona testing. Read the complete statement from the team. Full Statement (01-16-17)
  • Tommy Praytor kicked out of Daytona garage: Max Force Racing owner Tommy Praytor was kicked out of the Daytona garage during ARCA preseason testing. Praytor has stated that his speech at the banquet in December was the reason why officials barred him from the event. The Mobile Int'l Speedway promoter kept his sense of humor and posted pictures on Twitter of himself doing odd jobs around the speedway. ARCA did not respond to an email seeking comment on the controversial decision. (01-15-17)
  • Russell Henderson leaves drivers without a car at Daytona: Russell Henderson, who formed Henderson Motorsports last year, did not provide a car at the Daytona test for the drivers that he had signed for the event. Gregg Hutto Jr, Kevin Fontana, D.L. Wilson, and at least one other driver were left without a ride. Henderson allegedly took their money and paid Mike Affarano Motorsports a percentage to test each driver. Mike Affarano Motorsports never showed and may not have received the agreed upon funds. Russell Henderson's statement is as follows.
    "Two individuals that were [supposed] to be preparing the car did not get [the] car prepared, due to the fact that one individual only received a partial payment. No car was brought to Daytona testing [due to insufficient funds]. Names will remain under wraps [until] the legal side has been in contact with them. I have been advised not to have contact with said individual [until] my legal team has contacted them."
    CURRENT PLAN: "My individual plan is to pay back the drivers, what I can when I can, due to the fact [that driver] funds were sent to get [the] car prepared for Daytona, and never happened. The legal team will be in contact with each driver that attended Daytona testing and [will] advise them of what we are doing. I do apologize to everyone involved very much and will [work to] make this right by each person."
    FUTURE: "In the future, I'll find people more respectable to work with, lesson learned along the way, and will make sure this problem never happens again, with contracts, and more investigation of teams, people, and future drivers. All of this will take some time but will be done in a timely manner which I was advised. We plan to keep moving forward, revamping some situations, and going in the right direction, not the wrong. Thank you all, and the guys involved are a great group of people, and did not in any way deserve this, nor did I." (01-14-17)
  • Raphaël Lessard to drive for Venturini at Nashville & Winchester: Raphaël Lessard was invited by Toyota and its subsidiary TRD to compete in three ARCA races in 2017. The Japanese manufacturer has always strived to develop young talents who have subsequently succeeded in climbing the highest echelons. Lessard's 2016 CARS Super Late Model series championship is no stranger to this invitation. "The association with Toyota is starting to pay off," said agent Robert Desrosiers. We believe in Raphael's exceptional talent." For his three events, Lessard was recruited by the Venturini Motorsports team, an advanced ARCA team which has fielded cars for drivers such as Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Christopher Bell. Lessard's management group is refining the final schedule of his protégé. Two of the three entries have already been confirmed, in Nashville on April 8 and in Winchester, Indiana, on August 6. The third will be announced in the coming days. Since he is only 15 years old, Lessard is limited to running on oval tracks of one mile or less. He will celebrate his 16th birthday on July 5th. (In part from JournalDeMontreal.com) (01-11-17)
  • Matt Kurzejewski not racing at Daytona: Pennsylvania driver Matt Kurzejewski, who finished third in driver points last year, will not be at Daytona. Kurzejewski has competed in the past four season openers and has over 30 career ARCA starts. (01-11-17)
  • Kyle Weatherman joins Mason Mitchell Motorsports for 10 races: Mason Mitchell Motorsports announced today that 19-year-old Kyle Weatherman will make ten starts with the championship team during the 2017 ARCA Racing Series season. Weatherman’s first start will come in the season opener at Daytona. “Knowing we had two very solid races with MMM last year tells me that if I do my job correctly we should have ten chances of winning,” an excited Weatherman exclaimed. “Knowing that all of these guys have worked together is great; they know each other well and will work together to accomplish the same goal – and that’s to make fast race cars and win races.” Weatherman’s 2017 schedule in the No. 78 Chevrolet includes Daytona, Nashville, Salem, Talladega, Pocono Raceway (June), Michigan, Iowa, Chicagoland, Kentucky, and Kansas. (In part from Kyle Weatherman PR) (01-11-17)
  • Michael Lira preparing for Daytona debut: Lira Motorsports announces today that driver Michael Lira will test at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for his track debut in the ARCA Racing Series event in February. Lira, who has been a part of ARCA competition since 2013, has been looking forward to making his Daytona debut since he was as young as he could remember. He has had experience on the road course at Daytona in IMSA and SCCA, but has never taken to the 2.5-mile, high-banked tri-oval. “I’ve never been a part of a restrictor plate race, so this test session is going to be vital to learning and understanding how the cars react to the air,” said Lira. “Aerodynamics are a huge part of this style of racing, and it takes learning to get used to. I’m excited to get on track on Friday.” (In part from LiraMotorsports.com) (01-10-17)
  • RACE 101 loans engine to Thomas Praytor; Max Force Racing: As the days tick down to the test in Daytona, Thomas “Moose” Praytor found himself without his primary motor and it looked like he could be watching the test from Mobile. Enter Sarah Cornett-Ching with her Dickies RACE 101 team and just like Pocono a couple of years ago, Sarah came to the rescue loaning Praytor a motor for the test. “We were cutting it pretty close with our primary engine not being ready but Sarah, Tony and the guys at Race 101 saved us again,” said Praytor. “It’s one of the cool things about our series, having competitors helping each other.” With the snow melting away Praytor made a quick trip to the RAC 101 shop in Denver, North Carolina picked up a motor and the team is hustling to get it installed and ready for the test this weekend. “Our teams have always been close going back to when we were working out of the same team. Thomas and his guys have always been there to help us when we need it and it was great to be able to help him,” said Sarah Cornett-Ching. (In part from Max Force Racing PR) (01-10-17)
  • Austin Theriault to drive for Ken Schrader Racing CONFIRMED: Rumors indicate that Austin Theriault will drive the No. 52 entry for Ken Schrader Racing this season. Theriault, who has one career ARCA victory at Michigan in 2014, primarily competed in the K&N Pro East series last year for Hattori Racing Enterprises. The 22 year-old driver has several starts in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck divisions as well. (01-09-17)
    CONFIRMED: Ken Schrader Racing, Inc. is preparing for this week’s ARCA Racing Series test at Daytona. The North Carolina-based team will run all 20 ARCA races in 2017 with driver Austin Theriault and crew chief Donnie Richeson. “It’s a huge opportunity for me to be able to run my first-ever full season at a national level with KSR,” said Theriault. “With the support of Kenny and Donnie, I believe we can challenge for wins race-to-race and be in contention for a championship. Returning to tracks such as Daytona, Iowa, and Michigan will allow me to build on my previous experiences. Driving at historic places like Salem and DuQuoin for the first time will be fun. Let’s go.” Ken Schrader Racing will again campaign its fleet of No. 52 race cars for the upcoming ARCA season. While primary sponsorship is not yet confirmed, long-time partner Federated Auto Parts will continue to support the team’s effort. Cross Insurance Agency, based in Bangor, Maine, will also lend its support. (In part from ARCARacing.com) (01-10-17)
  • Lira Motorsports returning at Daytona with Clint King: North Carolina native Clint King will make his return to the ARCA Racing Series next month by participating in the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 at Daytona on Sat. Feb. 18 driving for Lira Motorsports. King who last competed in the development series in 2013 will jumpstart his ARCA return by partaking in the open ARCA test session at the 2.5-mile superspeedway next weekend in one of two Lira Motorsports entries. “I am really excited to get behind the wheel in the ARCA car next weekend at Daytona,” said King. “I’ve been more than ready to get back in a car since the XFINITY Series race at Texas last year to keep learning on these speedways and superspeedways. It’s a good chance to break up the off-season with sometime in the car and gives me a chance to really dissect what we learn at the test to apply for the race in February.” The 21-year-old King is also utilizing the first ARCA race of 2017 to earn his NASCAR superspeedway clearance where he hopes to participate in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season-opener the following week on Sat., Feb. 25. Lira Motorsports owned by Lira and wife Amanda return to the circuit for the first time since mid-2016, where they hope to return to their winning ways. [The team] will announce further details of their ARCA Racing Series return, particularly around the Daytona ARCA test in the coming days. (In part from Lira Motorsports PR) (01-09-17)
  • Brandon Grosso to make ARCA debut this year: Sixteen-year-old Brandon Grosso also spoke at the press conference. The media learned that the Big Diamond and New Egypt Modified track champion is planning to make his ARCA debut in 2017. "We're going to be moving over to asphalt racing and we plan to run some races in the ARCA circuit," said Grosso. He did not disclose which team he would be debuting with. In the meantime, it's back to the books for the junior in high school. "I do pretty well in school, so we should be okay to race...I just have to keep my grades up. I finish my homework on time and my principal allows excused absences because racing is a career for me." (In part from ARCARacing.com) (01-08-17)
  • Henderson Motorsports testing drivers at Daytona: Henderson Motorsports, established last year by former ARCA Truck Series competitor Russell Henderson, will participate in the Daytona test session next weekend with at least three different drivers. Gregg Hutto Jr, Kevin Fontana, and D.L. Wilson will share seat time in the team's No. 4 entry. Several are seeking additional sponsorship for the race in February.
    Alabama driver Gregg Hutto Jr returns to the ARCA Racing Series after making starts for Carter 2 Motorsports at Mobile (2015) and Talladega (2012). Hutto is a former four-cylinder track champion at Sunny South Raceway in Grand Bay, AL and has worked for the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. The 51 year-old opened his own business (Gregg’s Affordable Auto Glass) in 1999. He is currently searching for more funding to continue his ARCA career.
    North Carolina police officer Kevin Fontana will climb back behind the wheel of an ARCA car after participating in a test session at Coastal Plains Raceway with Jent Motorsports last October. Fontana, who has Super Late Model experience, is attempting to make his debut in February with a "local law enforcement car." This entry would encourage individuals to support their local police officers in a time where support has dwindled. The 42 year-old still needs to raise funds to make this effort a reality. 
    D.L. WILSON:
    52 year-old Donis (D.L) Wilson is a Texas State Trooper by day and a racer by night. Wilson has competed in Pro Late Model, Pro Truck, and SportMod events at his local tracks. The Waco, TX driver hopes to make multiple ARCA starts this season. (01-08-17)
  • Lucas Oil sponsoring Bobby Gerhart Racing for 14th year: Lucas Oil will return to Bobby Gerhart Racing this season for the 14th consecutive year, as announced by Bill Gerhart on Facebook. The sponsorship began in 2004 and has since produced six Daytona wins. Bobby Gerhart will return as the driver of the No. 5 Lucas Oil entry in the season opening race at Daytona. (In part from Facebook) (01-08-17)
  • David LeBeau to attempt Daytona with Norm Hutton Racing: 46 year-old Florida driver David LeBeau will attempt the season opening race at Daytona with Norm Hutton Racing. LeBeau, who regularly competes at New Smyrna Speedway in the sportsman division, will drive the No. 37 Ford. Pasco Tool & Plastics, Spectrum Assembly, and NJK Show Jumpers will serve as sponsors. In preparation for February, the team will participate in the upcoming test session on January 13th. LeBeau will work to find speed, while Mike Brown and Kirk Horton will share the car to gain approval for future ARCA events. (01-06-17)
  • Shane Lee joins Cunningham Motorsports full time: Cunningham Motorsports has signed Shane Lee to drive the No. 22 Ford for the full 2017 ARCA season. Lee competed in 10 ARCA races last season, earning a career-best finish of fourth at Pocono and earning the Menards Pole Award at Chicagoland Speedway. “You know I first noticed him at the second Pocono,” said Cunningham Motorsports co-owner Kerry Scherer. “But the thing that really impressed me was that he sat on the pole at Chicago and then sat on the outside pole at Kentucky and he ran us ragged in those races. When we found out we had an opportunity to sign him I couldn’t jump on it fast enough... it was great.” Lee, a Newton, N.C. native, compiled one top-five and five top-10 finishes in his first season racing in ARCA. The 23-year-old also competed in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, as well as a few late model races in the Whelen All-American Series in 2016. “It’s pretty awesome coming into an organization like Cunningham,” said Lee. “They’ve got plenty of smart people over there and Paul (Andrews)... he’s a great crew chief. I’m really excited... seeing how good they were last year with both cars and how many races they won and how many races they could have won.” (In part from Cunningham Motorsports.net) (01-05-17)
  • Max Force Racing back for full season; celebrating 20 years: Coming off their most successful ARCA season Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his family owned Max Force Racing will celebrate their 20th year of racing in 2017. To commemorate the milestone, the Mobile, Alabama based team will display a special 20th Anniversary logo during the 2017 season. With help from CGS Imaging the 20th logo was designed with its roots based in Alabama, the red bars of the Alabama State flag and the outline of the State of Alabama at the top. The left side has Tommy Praytor’s original “Fatboy Racing” Logo with the right side carrying the now familiar Moose logo used by Thomas “Moose” Praytor. Full Story (In part from Max Force Racing PR) (01-04-17)
  • Bret Holmes intending to race full time; more: Bret Holmes Racing formally announced its intentions to compete in all 20 ARCA Racing Series events during the 2017 season. This move was one of many made by the organization since Holmes last raced in the series at Kansas in October of 2016.
    The announcement comes on the heels of the team moving its ARCA operations from Holmes hometown of Munford, Alabama to a new facility on the campus of GMS Racing in Statesville, N.C. This move is expected to be fully completed by the beginning of the 2017 season and will allow BHR to continue to work alongside GMS in the development of racing technology and strategy related to its ARCA program.
    Another significant change to the organization has also taken place at the Crew Chief position. Bryan Berry will assume the role previously held by 2015 ARCA Series Champion, Grant Enfinger, who will be pursuing his own personal racing goals in 2017.
    “I am deeply excited for what 2017 has in store for us,” Bret Holmes said. “We got our feet wet with seven appearances in ARCA last season and had great results, but we just were not organized enough to run an entire season. Now that we have done things like move our ARCA team to Statesville and get Bryan Berry to come aboard, we feel like we can now not only win races in 2017, but contend for a championship. This is a significant step forward for me as a driver, and for our team as a whole. I just want to thank all those people who have helped me in my progression as a driver over the years, and hopefully, this will be the start of a fantastic year in ARCA.” (In part from Bret Holmes Racing PR) (01-04-17)
  • Fast Track Racing back full time; Pompa & Clifton returning: Fast Track Racing, owned by 1995 champion Andy Hillenburg, will return to ARCA full time this year. The team will field the No. 10 and 11 entries for a variety of drivers, including Ed Pompa and Rick Clifton. Pompa and Clifton are veterans of the series that have over 60 combined starts. Although some races have been filled, Fast Track Racing is searching for funded drivers to complete their season. Interested parties can contact the organization at (704) 455-1700 for more information. (01-02-17)