Back in late April, NASCAR announced the acquisition of the Automobile Racing Club of America, known as ARCA. NASCAR and ARCA have had a 60-plus year relationship between the separate racing companies. ARCA has even brought up some of NASCAR’s stars and future stars like Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Justin Allgaier, and Chris Buescher. ARCA even has its own legends such as Tim Steele and the 10-time champion Frank Kimmel. With NASCAR buying into ARCA, what will it mean for stock car racing? What does the future hold for this acquisition starting in 2020? What should NASCAR do with ARCA?
Honestly, you don’t have to do a whole lot with ARCA. NASCAR Vice Chairman Jim France and ARCA President Ron Drager, part of the Marcum family that founded ARCA, seem to be the top guys in charge of this change. Now obviously ARCA will be used as a developmental circuit for younger drivers that are coming up such as Michael Self, Sheldon Creed and Natalie Decker. Perhaps it’ll be on the same level as the K&N Pro Series. Perhaps a new series will be added? The K&N Midwest Series? Or just keep is as the ARCA something? Many drivers start out in the dirt series, modified, K&N or ARCA. If you have read my recent article on making NASCAR race weekends better, ARCA could perhaps do a double-header on the same day as the Truck Series. I went to Kentucky in 2009 and they did that. They ran the ARCA Racing Series first, then the Trucks right after.
NASCAR just needs to push the brand of ARCA to fans and get them to come to races. ARCA will certainly get more exposure being under the NASCAR name. ARCA’s schedule is also dynamic itself going to Daytona and Talladega, then to NASCAR intermediate tracks like Charlotte and Chicagoland, then to the small grassroots short tracks like Toledo and Salem, recently bought out by Bo LeMastus. Schedule-wise, you don’t need to change anything really. I like that they switch out tracks too every season, so one season or two they don’t run at Kentucky but instead go to another SMI track like Charlotte. Maybe throw in a road course for fun and give all the drivers a challenge. ARCA can also be a place for not just young up and coming stars to race in, like the other series, maybe you get someone like Kevin Harvick to run a one off.
The cars themselves don’t need to change much. I know many fans would probably want the Gen 4 bodies to come back, but I do hope that maybe the smaller, back of the pack teams could perhaps get a little boost being in NASCAR and can compete with everyone else. ARCA should be cheap, the cars should cost a lot less and therefore you have more teams and more people being interested to sponsor either if it’s a young, promising driver looking for sponsorship or even a long-time driver who enjoys being out there. In 2008, when Rockingham reopened for a while, the Carolina 500 ARCA race had 50 cars start in it that featured future Cup drivers in it. The racing fields don’t have to be that big, but still having 35 to 40 ARCA cars racing would be great to see. If the costs are low, sponsorships are also easier to get as well. Make this series exciting for fans that can’t catch a cup race or if they happen to be in town, tickets should be next to nothing. Build an interesting brand. I think ARCA being a part of NASCAR can be a wonderful idea, if it doesn’t go overboard.
NASCAR doesn’t have to do a lot with ARCA but push the brand out and promote it. This will all take effect in 2020, so what do you guys think? What should NASCAR do with the newly acquired ARCA?