Not only is Toledo Speedway a Midwestern short track that serves as a reminder of ARCA's beginning days in the 1950s, but it's a half-mile oval that sits less than 10 miles from the series' headquarters in Temperance, Mich. and tightly within the grounds of Ohio's long racing tradition.
This week, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards makes its 69th appearance at its home track, as Sunday's Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care marks the fourth race of the 2011 season.
Scheduled for 200 laps and 100 miles, the Menards 200 will put a period on a tripleheader of weekend racing action in Toledo. The weekend's feature race will take the green flag at 2 p.m. on Sunday, and will be preceded by practice at 12:30 p.m. and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Live timing and scoring and live audio coverage of all ARCA Racing Series activity will be provided by ARCA Nation and the ARCA Racing Network at ARCARacing.com.
Chris Buescher (No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford) will return to the track after winning both of the series' events at Toledo last season, in May and in September. Buescher's first victory was also his career first, as he led 126 of 200 laps to hold off Joey Coulter and Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet).
Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford), the nine-time ARCA champion whose name tops numerous lists in the ARCA history books, holds the ARCA record with nine victories at Toledo Speedway.
Though Kimmel and Buescher are the only past Toledo winners entered, Hessert, Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford), Dakoda Armstrong (No. 22 Ferrellgas Dodge), and Ty Dillon (No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) are other ARCA Racing Series race winners set to take the green flag.
While the series just raced at Salem - similar to Toledo as a banked short track - in a race won by Brennan Poole over Dillon and Kimmel, McCumbee is one driver who knows that Toledo is a far different challenge.
"It's a huge difference," McCumbee said. "Both of them are really fast, but you attack the track totally different. I've been fast at Toledo, but it's two totally different packages in the setup.
"For a half-mile race track, it's very fast. With the configuration, there's a ton of grip in the asphalt there. There's normally a high attrition rate, and you have to be really smart to keep the car under you, keep the brakes under you, keep the tires under you."
Matt Crafton, a 10-year NASCAR veteran who drives for ThorSport Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, will enter the third ARCA event of his career in the No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management/Menards Ford. The car is a Kimmel Racing entry featuring ThorSport preparation. Crafton finished fifth last May in his ARCA debut at Toledo, and fifth again at Iowa in July.
The first of two ARCA Racing Series events at Toledo this season will be preceded by the Buckeye 305 Sprint Car Series on Friday, May 13, and the ARCA Truck Series on Saturday, May 14.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards features 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. 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.