Earlier this month, ARCA Series officials released the details to the 2011 ARCA schedule.
Nineteen events will comprise the diverse combination of superspeedways, short tracks, dirt tracks and road courses in the series' 59th consecutive season of competition.
"We're extremely proud of the depth and quality of the venues on the 2011 schedule, each of which is very important to the identity and industry position of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards," said ARCA president Ron Drager in a press release. "Both the number of scheduled events and the geographic coverage represented by the markets we'll be racing in are good fits for the series."
The series will begin for the 48th consecutive year at Daytona with the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. The event will take place during Daytona Speedweeks and be run prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout.
"We race on the same day, at the same track, just a couple of hours before the Bud Shootout, which is the first race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour. It's a great opportunity for us. It's a great platform.
"The race is always televised live on SPEED and annually draws the greatest field of entrants, the greatest number of paid admissions and the highest TV ratings," said ARCA president Ron Drager.
The series will then go to Talladega Superspeedway, making their 50th appearance at the 2.66 mile oval on April 15. They will be joined by the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series.
The 0.555-mile oval of Salem Speedway will host the third event of the year on May 1.
"Salem Speedway is a renowned, historical venue and ARCA's history there dates back to the decade of our origin," said Drager. "The fans at Salem give us great support and racing there on a Sunday afternoon in the spring and a Saturday night in the fall gives the fans two perspectives."
"We are certainly excited to have the ARCA Racing Series returning to Salem Speedway in 2011," said Salem Speedway general manager Richard Deaton. "The traditional spring and fall events are a mainstay on the Salem schedule.
"Through the years, the ARCA Racing Series has played a significant role in the storied history of the famed high banks. Drivers from such varied backgrounds as IndyCar, NASCAR and F1 have competed with ARCA on the super-fast Salem oval."
ARCA's home track Toledo Speedway will host its traditional spring date on May 15.
May 22 will mark the fourth trip for the ARCA Series to New Jersey Motorsports Park, a 2.25-mile road course.
June 4 will mark the annual trip to Chicagoland Speedway with the Nationwide Series.
June 11 will mark the 52nd time that the ARCA Series has raced at Pocono Raceway, as they will join the Sprint Cup Series there.
"Pocono Raceway is an integral part of our series, with superspeedway speeds and short track and road course turns," said Drager.
"When a driver is transitioning from a short-track career to superspeedway racing as many of our drivers do, Pocono is often the track to do just that. It's a great place for someone to run their first superspeedway race."
"Racing at Pocono takes on special significance because of our long-term relationship with the Mattioli family, especially Dr. Joseph and Rose, as well as Brandon and Nick Igdalsky, third-generation family members in track management. In addition, the track's location near major East Coast markets is important to our series."
"This is a tradition, and something we always look forward to doing every year," track president Nick Igdalsky said. "There's that personal date in some of our hearts with ARCA, and we've been associated with the series from very early on. We plan on having ARCA accompany every race we have at Pocono."
June 17 will be mark the annual trip to Michigan International Speedway, in conjunction with the Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"We have always considered MIS our hometown superspeedway. It's a special place for us, with our history there since 1980 and it being an ISC-owned track," said Drager, noting his family's connection to the ISC-operating France family.
"Our drivers really look forward to racing at MIS since it's such a competitive track and it's close to home for many of our Midwest-based teams. The administration and staff at MIS have always been solidly supportive in promoting the series, and our teams and drivers appreciate that."
June 25 will mark the ARCA Series' first trip to Winchester Speedway since May of 2007.
"It's important for the ARCA Racing Series to be at Winchester Speedway. It's exactly the type of Midwestern facility where the ARCA brand is well-known and has the chance to be successful," said Drager. "Winchester is big enough and fast enough to play to the very nature of our cars."
"I think ARCA has a good name, and is known really well country-wide. ARCA is an asset to Winchester Speedway, and I think Winchester Speedway can be an asset to ARCA too," said Charlie Shaw, owner of Winchester Speedway.
"ARCA has been around a long time and it's a well-respected association. The series races around most of the country at big tracks, small tracks, and so forth, and it's a stepping stone for stock car drivers. I think that's an important part of Winchester Speedway, too, as it's a stepping stone. If people can run well at Winchester, they can usually run at the bigger tracks."
The ARCA Series will hit the 0.4-mile paved oval of Berlin Raceway on July 9.
"Berlin Raceway is unlike any of the short tracks we go to in terms of its unique layout and pit road," said Drager. "It's been a staple of the tour for a number of years, and it seems that everyone from local guys like 2002 winner Fred Campbell to multi-time champions like three-time winner Frank Kimmel has a chance to be successful."
They will then join the Camping World Truck Series at Iowa Speedway on July 16.
"Racing at Iowa Speedway is important from a market and venue perspective, as we reach a number of fans from several major areas there," Drager said. "Being new, Iowa Speedway is one of those tracks that has the luxury of incorporating so many amenities, sightlines and facilities among them, to be fan-friendly and competitor-friendly. Iowa Speedway fans have strongly supported ARCA."
The July 28 event will mark the return for the ARCA Series to O'Reilly Raceway Park, which they will run in conjunction with the USAC National Midget, and the Silver Crown Series races the same day. The event will be the eighth for ARCA at the 0.686-mile oval since 1971.
"We feel the Thursday Night Triple Header will be an incredible night of racing and will be a tremendous addition to the storied history of Kroger SpeedFest," said Wes Collier, acting general manager at O'Reilly Raceway Park. "All three of these series will add to what is already some of the best racing in the country during the course of three evenings."
"USAC and O'Reilly Raceway Park have provided us with a tremendous opportunity to join what is already a great night of racing during the Kroger SpeedFest," said Drager. "We hope to add to the energy and excitement of all the racing taking place in Indianapolis that week."
"Our long relationship with our friends at ARCA has produced some memorable racing weekends," said Kevin Miller, president and CEO of USAC. "We are pleased that we can offer this tremendous tripleheader event to the race fans at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, one of the nation's premier racing facilities.
"It's been seven years since the Midgets and ARCA shared billing and a dozen years since ARCA and the Silver Crown cars were on the same bill. We are extremely excited about this program and look forward to what we expect to be one of our season's signature events."
The ARCA/USAC tripleheader kicks off ORP's Kroger SpeedFest, which also features a Friday event for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a Saturday race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The ORP events lead in to one of the feature races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, the July 31 Brickyard 400 at nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Aug. 6 will mark the 53rd trip for the ARCA Series to Pocono Raceway as they make their second trip of the year to the 2.5-mile paved oval, along with the Sprint Cup Series and the Camping World Truck Series.
Aug. 21 will mark ARCA's first dirt race of the year, as they will hit Illinois State Fairgrounds.
"Racing on the dirt is part of what helps to set the ARCA Racing Series apart. It's an important component of what we do," said Drager. "This very directly connects us to the early onset and the founders of stock car racing. Before there were pavement tracks, racing on the fairgrounds dirt was it."
"This directly connects us to a whole community of race fans whose affinity is dirt track racing. It's important to reach out and connect with those racers and fans. Racing on the dirt is a vital, integral component of our schedule and a calculated part of our business plan. It differentiates our tour."
Aug. 26 will mark a new track for the ARCA Series as they will head to Madison International Speedway, a semi-banked, half-mile oval located in Oregon, Wisc.
The ARCA Series will then return back to the dirt tracks on Sept. 5 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Following DuQuoin, the ARCA Series will hit Salem Speedway on Sept. 17.
Oct. 7 marks a trip to Kansas Speedway, in conjunction with the Sprint Cup Series.
The series will conclude its season at its home track of Toledo Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 16. The last couple of years, the final race normally belonged to Rockingham Speedway, which doesn't appear on the 2011 schedule.
As in years past, SPEED will cover some of the races live or have same-day coverage for fans.
"Our relationship with ARCA dates back to the early days of the network," said Hunter Nickell, president of SPEED. "We look forward to our continued relationship and working together to deliver great racing to a very supportive group of fans."
"ARCA and SPEED have invested a great deal over time in this relationship," said Drager. "Despite the tremendous evolution in the racing and television industries in the past 15 years, our partnership has never wavered and, in fact, has grown stronger over time. We're very pleased that SPEED will continue to be the television home for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards."
SPEED will kick off its live flag-to-flag ARCA coverage at Daytona International Speedway with the 48th running of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Feb. 12.
In addition to Daytona, other events scheduled for live and/or same-day coverage in 2010 include Talladega Superspeedway on April 15, Chicagoland Speedway on June 4, events at Pocono Raceway on June 11 and Aug. 6, Michigan International Speedway on June 17, Iowa Speedway on July 16, O'Reilly Raceway Park on July 28, Kansas Speedway on Oct. 7, and the season finale at Toledo Speedway on Oct. 16.
ARCA's relationship with SPEED dates back to April 20, 1997, when the network (then Speedvision) covered the ARCA race at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. Since then, SPEED has aired a total of 179 ARCA races, making the 2011 opener at Daytona the 180th.
BAS Racing Network will also have radio coverage of all 19 events on the schedule.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception.
The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country.
Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.
|2011 ARCA RACING SERIES SCHEDULE|
|2-12||Daytona Int'l Speedway||Daytona Beach, Florida||2.5 paved|
|4-15||Talladega Superspeedway||Talladega, Alabama||2.66 paved|
|5-1||Salem Speedway||Salem, Indiana||.555 paved|
|5-15||Toledo Speedway||Toledo, Ohio||.5 paved|
|5-22||New Jersey Motorsports Park||Millville, New Jersey||2.25 roadcourse|
|6-4||Chicagoland Speedway||Joliet, Illinois||1.5 paved|
|6-11||Pocono Raceway||Long Pond, Pennsylvania||2.5 paved|
|6-17||Michigan Int'l Speedway||Brooklyn, Michigan||2 paved|
|6-25||Winchester Speedway||Winchester, Indiana||.5 paved|
|7-9||Berlin Raceway||Marne, Michigan||.4 paved|
|7-16||Iowa Speedway||Newton, Iowa||.875 paved|
|7-28||O'Reilly Raceway Park||Clermont, Indiana||.686 paved|
|8-6||Pocono Raceway||Long Pond, Pennsylvania||2.5 paved|
|8-21||Illinois State Fairgrounds||Springfield, Illinois||1 dirt|
|8-26||Madison Int'l Speedway||Oregon, Wisconsin||.5 paved|
|9-5||DuQuoin State Fairgrounds||DuQuoin, Illinois||1 dirt|
|9-17||Salem Speedway||Salem, Indiana||.555 paved|
|10-7||Kansas Speedway||Kansas City, Kansas||1.5 paved|
|10-16||Toledo Speedway||Toledo, Ohio||.5 paved|
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