Just hours before tonight's 59th annual ARCA Racing Series Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, ARCA held its annual end-of-season press conference. The series released its 2012 television schedule, among other announcements.
Officials from ARCA and SPEED jointly announced the 2012 SPEED television schedule for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, comprised of 10 events to be televised live or same-day delayed on the popular network. SPEED in-race analyst Phil Parsons, host for this evening's banquet, was on hand for the announcement.
SPEED will kick off its live flag-to-flag ARCA coverage at Daytona International Speedway with the 49th running of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, February 18.
In addition to Daytona, other events scheduled for live and/or same-day coverage in 2012 include Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, Toledo Speedway on May 20, events at Pocono Raceway on June 9 and August 4, Michigan International Speedway on June 15, Iowa Speedway on July 13, Chicagoland Speedway on July 21, and the season finale at Kansas Speedway on October 19. The late July race at Lucas Oil Raceway will also be televised; series and track officials have not yet determined the race's exact date.
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 188 ARCA races, making the 2012 opener at Daytona the 189th.
Before the SPEED announcement, Drager opened the afternoon by providing a short "state of ARCA" address, recognizing series presenting sponsor Menards, and unveiling the logo for ARCA's 60th Anniversary Season celebration. Drager then introduced Rick Crawford of Mobile International Speedway, which will host the ARCA Racing Series for the first time on March 10. Crawford announced that infield camping for ARCA's first visit to Mobile has already sold out.
Also speaking was Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises; Sargent's company will promote the June 2 race at Elko Speedway.
The press conference also served as a weekend welcome to series champion Ty Dillon, who spoke briefly after Drager.
Key series marketing partners and Menards vendor program participants Ansell, Herr's, and Messina Wildlife Management were recognized. Several teams, including ThorSport Racing, Team BCR Racing, Andy Belmont Racing, and Venturini Motorsports, took the podium to announce new drivers and sponsors for 2012.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards featured 19 events at 16 tracks on its 2011 schedule. The series 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. In 2011, the series has tested the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, 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.
The 2012 ARCA Racing Series schedule is currently available at ARCARacing.com.
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.