Thrilling short track action will dot the summer schedule for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards in 2012, the series' 60th year of competition.
Adding to 11 races previously announced for next year's schedule, ARCA officials released four more event dates as the unveiling of 2012's entire race slate approaches.
The series will return to Winchester Speedway, the "World's Fastest Half-Mile," on Sunday, June 24. The race will be the 22nd for ARCA at the track 75 miles northeast of Indianapolis; the first ARCA race at Winchester took place in 1957, just the fifth season of ARCA competition. Dakoda Armstrong lifted Cunningham Motorsports to victory at Winchester in June.
"Winchester is exactly the type of Midwestern facility where the ARCA brand is well-known and has the chance to be successful," said ARCA president Ron Drager. "Winchester is big enough and fast enough to play to the very nature of our cars."
ARCA will make its seventh visit to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 13 - one day before a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the track. Ty Dillon and Richard Childress Racing earned a dominating win at Iowa in July on his way to the 2011 series championship.
"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 as recently built as it is, 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 25th appearance for the ARCA Racing Series at Berlin Raceway will occur on Saturday, August 11. The 0.4375-mile oval near Grand Rapids, Mich. hosted ARCA for the first time in 1958, and Matt Merrell won this July to take his first victory with Win-Tron Racing.
"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."
Madison International Speedway will host ARCA for the second consecutive year and the fifth time since 1970 on Sunday, August 26. Alex Bowman drove Venturini Motorsports to the winner's circle on the half-mile this season. The race is the year's only event in Wisconsin, home to series presenting sponsor Menards. After taking place as a one-day Friday event in 2011, on-track activities will spread over two days - a Saturday and Sunday combination.
"The state of Wisconsin is renowned for the quality of its racing - teams and facilities - so it's an important state from that perspective," said Drager. "In addition, Wisconsin race fans are well-educated about the sport, and Terry Kunes and his staff at Madison provide a great venue at which our series can perform and compete.
"We consider every one of these race tracks important challenges to our racers, and there is a true advantage to racing within the Menards footprint. As Menards continues as our highest-profile marketing partner, racing in these Midwestern and Central states takes on added significance."
More detailed schedule information for the season will be available shortly. The following race dates for the 2012 ARCA Racing Series schedule have been announced:
February 18 - Daytona International Speedway
March 10 - Mobile International Speedway
May 4 - Talladega Superspeedway
June 9 - Pocono Raceway
June 15 - Michigan International Speedway
June 24 - Winchester Speedway
July 1 - New Jersey Motorsports Park
July 13 - Iowa Speedway
July 21 - Chicagoland Speedway
August 4 - Pocono Raceway
August 11 - Berlin Raceway
August 19 - Illinois State Fairgrounds
August 26 - Madison International Speedway
September 3 - DuQuoin State Fairgrounds
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.
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.
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.