What draws such a wide-ranging array of racers to run ARCA? One reason is the cars. Larry McClure, one of the owners of the Kodak team in Winston Cup says, "These cars are the same weight, basically the same dimensions, same horsepower, same tracks as the Winston Cup cars - and the rules are not enough of a difference that it makes a difference."
Big Car, Big Track ExperienceAn upside of those rules is the market for used Cup equipment and that brings up another benefit. Ken Schrader is well-known for running pretty much every race he can when not wheeling his No. 49 BAM Dodge in Winston Cup action. He routinely races ARCA not as a NASCAR superstar paid to run, but as a competitor paying his entry fees. He points out why: "A lot of us race it for different reasons. I race it because I want to for fun. In the ARCA series, you can be a good short track team at your local track, buy a good, used, decent Winston Cup car, ask a lot of questions, and learn how to speedway race without having to do it all on your own and spend $5 million. You can learn how to drive a heavy, Winston Cup-type car on a mile dirt track if you're a dirt racer, or you can learn how to drive on a half-mile pavement if you're pavement racer, and work your way up."
Learning how to work a Winston Cup car is one major reason to race ARCA; doing it on many of the tracks that do run NASCAR's top series is another plus. The four-time ARCA RE/MAX Championship winning car owner Larry Clement says it best: "Well, you look at what you can do in ARCA. You get to run Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte, Atlanta, Michigan, Pocono, and most of the big superspeedways all over the United States. And to be able to do it on a budget that's, maybe, 10 percent of what a NASCAR Winston Cup budget is, why it's pretty cool." Speedway track time and not going into debt up to your eyeballs-such a deal.
That simple formula has defined ARCA for over 50 years. Ron Drager points out a very proud fact about ARCA. "There are lots of sanctioning bodies that have really strong touring series: NASCAR, USAC, ASA, IRL, and CART with their feeder series. So there's plenty of places for folks to choose to go racing as they advance their careers and move up. If you look at the guys who decided to bring their sons here, it's always very gratifying. Richard Petty brought Kyle. Bobby Allison brought Davey and Clifford. Dale Earnhardt brought Kerry."
Legendary crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports, Gary DeHart, is calling the shots for Kyle Busch this year in his limited ARCA schedule and says, "Well, when you have young kids come along that have a lot of talent like Kyle, it's really not fair to turn 'em out with a bunch of Winston Cup people or Busch guys who race pretty hard. You need somewhere to start. ... We think it's a great series and certainly has helped the kid. I noticed since we started doing it, that a few of them started doing it also. A lot of the team owners in Winston Cup are wanting to bring their kids into the sport. It's a good starting place."