NASCARCA…What Does the Future Hold?


by Paul Gohde

Back in April, NASCAR announced the purchase of Midwest-based stock car sanctioning body ARCA, a series that has 20 races in 18 states scheduled for this season. Since then many in the sport have wondered what the future would look like for that merger come 2019-2020 and beyond.

Recently we had the opportunity to spend some time with ARCA president Ron Draeger to discuss that merger and how it would affect the sport, its competitors and fans. Following is an edited and updated version of that conversation.

Racing Nation: “How will the blending of these two groups look to the drivers and teams as ARCA 2019 competition begins at Daytona this month?”

Ron Draeger: “For 2019, for everybody, NASCAR’s K&N East and West and ARCA’s 20-race Menards series itself, will be much the same as it’s been. What we’re working on and trying to build is a good coordinated effort towards 2020. Those series will be the same as has been the case since 1984: the General Tire Super Speedway Series for tracks larger than a mile, the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge for those one-mile and under, and the overall ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards that includes all 20 scheduled events.”

RN: “So, what about 2020? What will that effort look like when you roll this out?”

RD: “How can we have these cars run with short track ARCA cars? How to max-up all the other variables? The good part is chassis are very similar, and bodies are identical; all Five Star. How can we get those cars on the same page with a limited list of real meaningful components, so cars won’t have to make a bunch of adjustments to come and race? ARCA’s Ilmor 396 engine and K&N’s Yates motors are close. The goal is to have K&N cars run in one or more of a 10-race short track Stock Car Invitational series and run for that championship as well.”

RN: “Have you had good cooperation from NASCAR in all this, and what does the future hold for Ron Draeger and the ARCA staff?”

RD: “In 2019 we’re still operating with K&N E/W ‘minding their own store’, as is ARCA. When we get to 2020, who’s over these series? The goal is we’re not worried about anybody’s title. It’s been a good cooperative effort with NASCAR so far. Let’s get this organized so that in ’20 (K&N) East and West and ARCA are as strong as we can make them with broadcasting and sponsorship packages, schedules and rules packages right now.

As for me and others at ARCA, we’re pretty focused on ’19. We’re basically doing what we’ve done the last 15-20 years. We know that NASCAR likes what they see otherwise they wouldn’t have had an interest in us being a part of their program. (And would you ever foresee having to move to Daytona at some point?) I don’t know because I own a couple of race tracks (Flat Rock and Toledo). I can’t see myself pulling up stakes at any point.”

RN: “Finally, what would you say to ARCA’s core of Midwest fans regarding the changes?”

RD: “We’ve always believed that we’re a racing company and our core product is racing. That’s our mindset and that’s what we believe and strive for. It takes everything coming together, in a confluence of cooperation and support to make this work and happen every day. NASCAR’s acquisition of ARCA feels very natural. The France family and my grandparents (John Marcum, who started MARC, the forerunner of ARCA) have known each other (and worked together) for 70 years. I don’t know if there could be anything more natural than that. Can we continue to operate ARCA as we’ve known it all these years and take advantage of the resources NASCAR has to offer and still maintain ARCA’s identity and personality? That’s our goal.”


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