PRESS ANNOUNCEMENTS GALORE AT ARCA BANQUET TIME presented by Advance Auto Parts
More TV Time, New Lineups, a New Pacer and More
As a preamble to the 53rd annual ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship awards banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, several key announcements took center stage during the annual series press conference in Covington, Kentucky Saturday afternoon.
SPEED CHANNEL INCREASES COVERAGE TO 15 EVENTS
SPEED Channel, the worldwide leader in motorsports television coverage, has increased its coverage of ARCA RE/MAX Series races in 2006 to 15 events, each scheduled for live or same-day delayed broadcast.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series will be on SPEED for 15 events next season.
2006 broadcast coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series will begin on Saturday afternoon, February 11th at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with live, flag to flag coverage of the 43rd annual Daytona ARCA 200 season opener.
In addition to Daytona, events scheduled for coverage in ’06 include both at Nashville Superspeedway on April 15 and August 12, both at Michigan Int’l Speedway on June 16 and August 18, both at Toledo Speedway on May 21 and September 1 and both at Pocono Raceway on June 10 and July 22. Kansas Speedway on July 1, Kentucky Speedway on July 7, Gateway Int’l Raceway on July 28, Chicagoland Speedway on September 9, Talladega
Brewco Motorsports, which fields NASCAR Busch Series teams for David Green and Greg Biffle, has announced plans to run rookie Brad Coleman in at least 10 ARCA RE/MAX Series races in 2006 beginning with the RE/MAX Series race at Nashville Superspeedway on April 15. Coleman, who turns 18 a few days after the season-opening Daytona ARCA 200 in February, will also compete in a yet-to-be-determined number of Busch races in 2006. Coleman already has an impressive resume competing in karts, open-wheel cars and sports cars including a run in last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Frank Kimmel will have a new look in 2006. (ARCA Photo)
ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran driver Mark Gibson announced that he would step aside as the fulltime driver of his #59 Williams Bros Lumber Chevrolet in favor of Tipp City, Ohio native Ryan Howard, who will drive the car fulltime in 2006. Gibson, who has 303 career RE/MAX Series starts, also said he would drive a second team car in selected events. “Ryan’s going to run the whole schedule for us,” said Gibson. “I’m going to run the two dirt races for sure, maybe more. I could run anywhere from two to 11 races. We’re also proud to announce that Williams Bros Lumber will be returning as primary sponsor on the 59 car.”
Superspeedway on October 6 and the season finale at the new Iowa Speedway on October 15 will round out the remaining broadcast schedule.
Seven-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel announced that the National Pork Board would become the primary sponsor on his #46 Tri-State Motorsports Ford entries for 2006. Kimmel also unveiled a new look for 2006, which featured his #46 car with a new, predominantly blue paint scheme rather than the familiar bright orange.
Hardcore Motorsports and driver Stan Boyd announced plans to run the full 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule with a mix of 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlos and 2005 Dodge Chargers. It was also announced that Keith Montgomery would serve as the team’s crew chief. Additionally, drivers Jason Hedlesky and rookie Nick Clement are both expected to drive in second Hardcore Motorsports entries on a part-time basis in 2006. Hardcore Motorsports fielded cars in 2005 for 2003 ARCA RE/MAX Rookie of the Year Bill Eversole.
Hagans Racing announced that New York native Donny Lia would drive the #9 Hagans Racing Dodge in at least eight ARCA RE/MAX Series races in 2006. Lia, 25,
comes to Hagans Racing after a successful three-year stint in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour where he was the 2003 Rookie of the Year. He won a race in both his rookie and sophomore seasons and added two more victories in 2005. In additio, Lia has won some of the top unsanctioned Modified races in the country, including the 2004 North vs. South Shootout in North Carolina and the $10,000 outlaw modified race in Massachusetts. Hagans fielded Dodges for RE/MAX Rookie of the Year Joey Miller in 2005 and finished second in overall points.
Evernham Motorsports and General Mills have announced a well-balanced 2006 schedule for up-and-coming driver Erin Crocker, including a healthy mix of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Busch Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series races in which she will carry the Cheerios and Betty Crocker banners. Crocker is scheduled to race in seven 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series races. She earned two poles, three top fives and four top 10s in just five ARCA RE/MAX Series races this season for Evernham Motorsports.
BlackJack Racing and driver Dexter Bean announced plans to run the full 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule and will contend for Rookie of the Year honors. Bean, of Westby, Wisconsin, made four RE/MAX Series starts in 2005 posting two top-10 finishes including a career-best ninth at Michigan Int’l Speedway where he also led five laps. Chris Bires will serve as crew chief for the team. The team, utilizing Chevrolets, is still in search of sponsorship.
Holly, Michigan driver Howard Bixman is gearing up to run eight to 13 ARCA RE/MAX Series superspeedway races in 2006 with primary sponsorship from a national brand marketing partner. Bixman will field his own Fords powered by Yates-Roush engines and crew-chiefed by Jim Pearce.
NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader will compete in at least three ARCA RE/MAX Series events in 2006 at Salem Speedway on April 23, Toledo Speedway on May 21 and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on September 4. Schrader, in 39 career RE/MAX Series starts since 1981, has 12 victories and 12 Pork Pole awards among 25 top-5 and 28 top-10 finishes. He has also led 1,490 laps in 23 races.
DODGE PACE VEHICLE
Officials from the ARCA RE/MAX Series announced that Dodge, and the Dodge Charger, have been named the Official Pace Vehicle of the ARCA RE/MAX Series for the 2006 season. ARCA VP of Marketing & Communications Mark Gundrum unveiled a brand new 2006 Dodge Charger RT during the press conference.
ARCA SAFETY INITIATIVE
ARCA officials announced the formal designation of the ARCA Safety Initiative, a vertically integrated safety program that will take effect beginning with the 2006 racing season. Hardcore Motorsports, a Brighton, Michigan-based high performance parts retail sales company owned by Bill Wells and Nevie Richardson, has signed on as the title sponsor of the program, which will be known as the Hardcore Motorsports ARCA Safety Initiative. The Hardcore Motorsports ARCA Safety Initiative will position a full-time safety director into the ARCA home office in Temperance, Michigan, in the person of eleven-year ARCA race official Marc Williams. Williams’ duties will expand to include coordinating efforts with host speedways’ respective safety teams, as well as working closely with ARCA RE/MAX Series race team personnel and at other ARCA sanctioned racing events. A primary objective of the new Hardcore Motorsports ARCA Safety Initiative will involve information and education, as series officials and supporting entities are planning various seminars and instructional conferences during the course of the year.
NATIONAL PORK BOARD
The National Pork Board will return for a 5th season as an official sponsor of the ARCA RE/MAX Series. The sponsorship includes the continuation of the race-by-race Pork Pole Award ($500 at short tracks, $1,000 at superspeedways), and the Year End Pork Pole Award - upgraded to $10,000 cash for 2006.
The #59 ride will have a new driver in the seat for 2006.
NASCAR owner Ray Evernham (L) and Erin Crocker (R) will team up for some more ARCA races.