By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
In a move designed to strengthen a relationship that dates back more than 60 years, NASCAR announced today the acquisition of the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).
Both NASCAR and ARCA, a Midwest-based sanctioning body for stock car auto racing, share a long history: ARCA founder John Marcum raced against Bill France Sr. and worked as a NASCAR official. More recently, the series has provided a valuable platform for talented drivers looking to make it to NASCAR’s national series.
“Our NASCAR family has long had a special connection with our friends at ARCA, and this is a logical step in demonstrating our commitment to the next generation of racers,” said Jim France, NASCAR vice chairman, executive vice president and member of the sport’s founding family. “This continues the legacy our sport was built upon and will deliver the great racing our fans expect.”
France was the driving force behind the merger of GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series in 2012, creating the modernized International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in 2014.
ARCA began racing at Daytona International Speedway in 1964 at the behest of Bill France Sr. It kicked off its 66th season with 20-year-old Natalie Decker becoming the third female in the series to win a pole at Daytona and NASCAR Next alumnus Michael Self winning.
The ARCA Racing Series will continue to operate under its current structure through the 2019 season. This year’s schedule of 20 races includes nine events at NASCAR national series venues, and three others at NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks – illustrating the bond between the two sanctioning bodies.
“We are proud of the history and tradition of the ARCA Racing Series and the relationship we’ve built over six decades with NASCAR,” said Ron Drager, ARCA president and grandson of John Marcum. “We look forward to the opportunity to be more fully integrated with NASCAR and help shape the future of our sport.”