ARCA Town: Off-Season News and Notes
Moonlight, Testing, Super Mario and More
Justin Allgaier (L) got to share the podium with Tony Stewart and JJ Yeley after last year's Chili Bowl.
ARCA WELL REPRESENTED IN THE CHILI BOWL
From Justin Allgaier to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to Josh Wise, a wide selection of current and former ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers are in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week to compete in the 22nd Annual Chili Bowl Nationals. Last year, Allgaier posted a third place finish, just behind former ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart and JJ Yeley.
ARCA licensed drivers attempting to make it into this year's Chili Bowl A-Main include Allgaier, Stenhouse, Jr., Wise, Tim McCreadie, Bobby East, Brandon Knupp, Bryan Clauson, AJ Fike, Bud Kaeding, Billy Pauch, Jr., Billy Wease, Josh Richards and Kevin Swindell.
On Saturday, January 12, The Toledo Speedway Bar & Grille will present LIVE HBO Pay-Per-View coverage of the 2008 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The broadcast is commercial free.
The Toledo Speedway Bar & Grille is located on the grounds of Toledo Speedway on Benore Rd., just .25-mile off I-75 at the Alexis Road exit on the Michigan-Ohio border. The track is easily accessible from any direction, with the Ohio Turnpike, I-280, I-475 and US 23 just a short jaunt from the track.
DAYTONA RACE GROWS IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
As the entry lists for the annual ARCA 200 at Daytona continue to grow, so will the starting grid for this year's race.
ARCA RE/MAX Series officials have announced that the starting field for this year's ARCA 200 at Daytona will increase from 41 traditional starters to 43.
"We're doing what we can to help our series regulars - the teams that support the series on a fulltime basis," said ARCA President Ron Drager. "As our entries continue to grow each and every year for the ARCA 200 at Daytona, it's getting more and more challenging to make this race."
The first 32 positions for this year's race will consist of the 32 fastest speeds from SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying Friday afternoon. Positions 33 through 36 will be based on the previous year's car owner point standings. Positions 37 through 42 will be based on "Golden A Plan" teams from the previous season. Golden A Plan teams are defined as teams that compete with the same car owner and driver out of the same hauler at every race. The 43rd and final position is reserved for a past champion's provisional.
Back in December, a record 79 drivers participated in the three-day open test at Daytona. That said, the entry list for the 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona is expected to be one of the largest in series history.
Practice is scheduled from 12 noon to 5:00 pm Thursday afternoon, February 7. SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying is set for 12 noon Friday. The Saturday afternoon, February 9 ARCA 200 at Daytona, a preamble to the same-night Budweiser Shootout, is LIVE on SPEED at 4:00 pm eastern.
ARCA INVADES CANADA
It's been nearly 16 years since the ARCA RE/MAX Series traveled north of the border. But that will all change this year after Cayuga Speedway Park in Nelles Corner, Ontario Canada signed the 56-year-old tour to a date in 2008.
The .625-mile paved oval will host the ARCA RE/MAX Series on Sunday afternoon, June 29th, 2008 with a 250-lap event.
The packs might be a little larger at Daytona this year.
The race will mark the eighth appearance of the ARCA RE/MAX Series in Canada since 1967. The ARCA RE/MAX Series first traveled into Canada in July of 1967 to Capital City Speedway in Ottawa, Ontario where Bill Clemons earned the victory in the 100-lap main event.
After a 20-year hiatus, the series return to Canada on May 22, 1987 at Delaware Speedway in London, Ontario where Bill Venturini won the 125-lap race. The next five ARCA RE/MAX Series appearances in Canada were all at Delaware Speedway where winners included Tracy Leslie (August 12, 1988), Bob Keselowski (August 11, 1989, July 7, 1991 & July 11, 1992) and Bob Strait (September 29, 1990).
In addition to the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will accompany the racing activity Sunday afternoon at Cayuga with a 50-lap main event. The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series is building its own presence in Canada having already competed at Delaware on three occasions and at Sauble Speedway twice.
This year's event will mark the 45th running of the race and the 56th consecutive year of competition for the Series. The "ARCA 200" is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, February 9th, 2008. The event will be broadcast live on SPEED at 4 pm eastern and will serve as a show-opener for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race, the Budweiser Shootout, which is scheduled to be run later on that same night.
Considering how things went last year, Mario can hardly wait for the chance to compete again at the high banked Superspeedway. During last year's running of the ARCA 200 he had a strong car and appeared to be in contention for the win. Using pit strategy he took the lead and then maintained it for 21 laps holding off the challenges of other competitors, including the eventual race winner, Bobby Gerhart. Unfortunately, an incident coming off turn two ultimately took him out of contention for the win, though he did return to race and managed to get a respectable 13th place finish.
"Last year we were really good at Daytona," said Gosselin during a recent interview. "This year we are doing our best to be even better. Every year the competition gets
ALWTS winners in Canada include Brett Rowe (Delaware 2005), Paul Hahn (Delaware 2006 and Sauble 2006 & 2007) and Nick Gullatta (Delaware 2007).
Cayuga Speedway Park, just over a half-mile in length, is wide with relatively flat and sweeping corners, ideal for close, competitive short-track racing - the kind that puts much of the outcome back into the driver's hands.
Set on nearly 300 acres, Cayuga Speedway Park offers fans a full range of amenities including 1,500 campsites, refreshment and souvenir booths and free supervised parking. There is also a covered pavilion, which often serves as a gathering spot to enjoy all the festivities.
SUPER MARIO GETS READY FOR DAYTONA
It's been almost a year since Mario Gosselin battled for the win during the running of last year's "ARCA 200" at the historic 2.5 mile Daytona International Speedway. Next month the ARCA RE/MAX Series will once again open its season at the famed Daytona Int'l Speedway.
Cayuga Speedway (Cayuga Speedway Photo)
tougher and tougher in the ARCA Series. I don't expect it to be any different this year. The test in December went really well for our entire DGM Racing team. We brought two drivers that are new to ARCA, Alli Owens and Andrew Ranger, with us to the test. They performed very well, even better than I initially expected. With four cars and four drivers (Gosselin, Owens, Ranger & John Jackson) it was a lot of work, but the results were well worth the effort. We are currently planning to go to Talledega later this month for some more testing. All I can tell you is that we've been working really hard to get ready for this race. If our hard work pays off, we ought to be in good shape and definitely one of the teams in contention for the win come raceday."
Oddly enough, Gosselin and his team still have both primary and associate sponsorship position available for the upcoming event. Though he has some support from returning sponsors and friends for the race, he definitely needs to locate additional sponsors for this big race. As Gosselin recently put it, "We are very thankful for the support we have, but we really do need to make a deal with a primary sponsor and some new associate sponsors who can benefit by all that we have to offer. Sponsors make this all possible. Without them, we simply can't afford to compete."
In 36 starts in the ARCA RE/MAX series, Mario has 3 wins, 10 top fives and 15 top ten finishes. He has led 285 laps in 10 races and has 2 poles to his credit .
With the new season just around the corner, ARCA RE/MAX Series officials have released the 2008 open test schedule.
ARCA RE/MAX Series open testing starts at Rockingham Speedway with a two-day test March 21 and 22 and concludes with the annual three-day test at Daytona Int'l Speedway December 19-21. In between are test sessions at a variety of track shapes and sizes including Iowa Speedway (.875-mile), Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile), Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile), Michigan Int'l Speedway (2-mile), Nashville Superspeedway (1.33-mile), Chicagoland Speedway (1.5-mile) and Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile).
"The ARCA RE/MAX Series has, since the early 1960s, been one of the few places where less experienced drivers and race teams are provided an opportunity to get acclimated to stock car racing on superspeedways," said ARCA President Ron Drager.
"Recognizing our responsibility to provide that opportunity in a structured atmosphere, we have been fortunate that our host superspeedway tracks are willing to provide open test days for teams to get track time prior to arriving for the race event weekend. Joe Wells, our VP of Competition and RE/MAX Series director, heads up our driver approval committee, and administrates all the open tests. Hoosier Racing Tire engineers and personnel service each test, and we've found that even our more experienced teams appreciate the opportunity to practice with less time constraints and pressure than exists on a typical race event weekend."
The ARCA RE/MAX Series just came off a very successful open test at Daytona where a record 79 drivers took part in the 3-day test in mid-December. Ryan Fischer, in a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, posted the quickest speed overall at 181.605 mph.
The annual Daytona test was in preparation for the series' biggest event - the upcoming Saturday afternoon, February 9, 2008 ARCA 200 at Daytona, the 45th annual, which is LIVE on SPEED at 4:00 pm ET. The 200-miler also serves as the preamble to the Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR's same-night All-Star event.
2008 OPEN PRACTICE DATES FOR ARCA RE/MAX SERIES TEAMS
Rockingham Speedway - Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22
Iowa Speedway - Tuesday, April 1
Kansas Speedway - Thursday, April 3
Kentucky Speedway - Tuesday, April 15
Michigan Int'l Speedway - Wednesday, May 28
Kentucky Speedway - Tuesday, July 1
Nashville Superspeedway - Tuesday, July 22
Chicagoland Speedway - Tuesday, August 19
Talladega Superspeedway - Wednesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 18
Daytona Int'l Speedway - Friday December 19, Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 21
*All Drivers must be pre-approved by ARCA Competition Committee. *All Drivers must have a current year physical on file with ARCA. *No car will go on track unless Owner and Driver is registered and licensed by ARCA. *Team must have a paid entry for the event prior to going on track. *There will be a $100 test fee per driver and/or car that participates in the open test. *Car must conform to 2008 ARCA Rule Book. *Must have spotter with 2-way radio communication whenever car is on track. *Only licensed members allowed in the garage area and garage rules (age, attire, etc.) apply. *Hoosier tires will be available for purchase at the open tests. *Sunoco fuel will be available for purchase at the open tests. *Contact Joe Wells at the ARCA office to register for open tests. Failure to pre-register will result in increased test fee and reduction in track time. *Unless otherwise informed, garage area will open up at 7:00 am. On track activity will start at 9:00 am and end at 5:00 pm. Tracks will shut down for a one hour lunch break.
Mario Gosselin (MarioGosselin.com Photo)