The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) has released the 2012 schedule for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Twenty events - up from 19 in 2011 - will comprise the diverse combination of speedways, short tracks, dirt tracks, and a road course in the series' 60th Anniversary Season.
"Each of the venues on the 2012 schedule is very important to the identity and industry position of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards," said ARCA president Ron Drager. "The geographic coverage represented by the markets we'll be racing in and the overall number of races are good fits for the series."
In the ARCA Racing Series' 49th consecutive February Speedweeks appearance, Daytona International Speedway will host the season-opening Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 on Saturday, February 18. The race will precede that evening's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
The 2012 ARCA Racing Series schedule will conclude with the series' championship event at Kansas Speedway on Friday, October 19. In between, the series will appear in 18 other races at a wide variety of venues, setting the most versatile schedule in motorsports.
ARCA's first visit to Mobile International Speedway in Alabama will be the season's second race on Saturday, March 10. Another new track - Minnesota's Elko Speedway - appears on the ARCA schedule for the first time, with a race on Saturday, June 2. The ARCA Racing Series has never raced in Minnesota, adding significance to the June visit to Elko and establishing the North Star State as the 29th visited by ARCA's premier national tour since 1953.
Toledo Speedway - ARCA's home track - will host the series on Sunday, May 20.
ARCA Racing Series teams will compete in July at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis over the Brickyard 400 weekend, following ARCA's 2011 return to the track for the first time in 26 years. The exact date of the race will be determined shortly.
Additional short tracks returning to the ARCA Racing Series schedule include Salem (Ind.) Speedway on two weekends, Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, and Madison (Wis.) International Speedway.
Talladega Superspeedway will host its 50th ARCA Racing Series race on Friday, May 4, and Pocono Raceway will host two race dates for the 25th consecutive year, in June and August. Additional speedway events scheduled to return in 2012 include races at Michigan International Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.
Contributing to the long-recognized diversity of the ARCA schedule will be the traditional mile dirt races in August at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and in September at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds. Road course racing is in the plan for the fifth consecutive year, as the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park will host ARCA on the first day of July.
Companion events in 2012 include race weekends with the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series, as well as the USAC Silver Crown Series, the ARCA CRA Super Series, and the ARCA Truck Series.
The full 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule is as follows:
Saturday, February 18 - Daytona International Speedway
Saturday, March 10 - Mobile International Speedway
Sunday, April 29 - Salem Speedway
Friday, May 4 - Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, May 20 - Toledo Speedway
Saturday, June 2 - Elko Speedway
Saturday, June 9 - Pocono Raceway
Friday, June 15 - Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, June 24 - Winchester Speedway
Sunday, July 1 - New Jersey Motorsports Park
Friday, July 13 - Iowa Speedway
Saturday, July 21 - Chicagoland Speedway
To be determined - Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
Saturday, August 4 - Pocono Raceway
Saturday, August 11 - Berlin Raceway
Sunday, August 19 - Illinois State Fairgrounds
Sunday, August 26 - Madison International Speedway
Monday, September 3 - DuQuoin State Fairgrounds
Saturday, September 15 - Salem Speedway
Friday, October 19 - Kansas Speedway
The ARCA Racing Series will wrap up the 2011 season with the Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., near Cincinnati, on Saturday, December 10.