Three-time defending champion...
Three-time defending champion Chad Guinn parks his truck in Victorylane. Guinn leads the series standings with 23 victories.
The Lincoln Welders Truck Series (LWTS) first ran exhibition races latein 1998 with the first full season of competition in 1999. The seriesevolved from the old Pro-4 Series, which ARCA sanctioned from 1990through 1998. The Pro-4 Series cars were full tube chassis, all-out racecars with highly modified 4-cylinder engines. Both full body and openwheel cars competed in the series, which made it unique but also lackinga true identity with the fans. With the popularity of the NASCAR TruckSeries and trucks in general, long time ARCA official Jim Clarke came upwith the idea to race compact trucks. The original thought was to designthe trucks so the Pro-4 competitors could use most of their parts tobuild trucks and seven of them did just that.
The basic rules required the use of a tube frame chassis, stockappearing fiberglass body from ARCA-approved suppliers and a specHoosier tire. Body styles permitted were Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10, DodgeDakota, GMC S-15 and Toyota Tacoma. Engines were still 4-cylinder butslightly larger at 2600cc with a two-barrel carburetor. The rules havebeen very stable in the six-year history of the series. The biggestchange came with the introduction of V-6 engines in 2003 with a slightweight and compression ratio penalty. The V-6 has already proven to bemuch more reliable and cost effective than the 4-cylinder enginespartially because of the rules ARCA has established to build them. Thefans seem to be more interested in the V-6. Other rules ARCA has addedto help contain costs are a spec wheel, spec transmission and specificpart numbers for shocks that can be utilized.
The field of ARCA Lincoln...
The field of ARCA Lincoln Welders Trucks approaches the green flag forthe start of a race at Toledo (OH) Speedway.
The inaugural season consisted of eleven asphalt and four dirt races infour states. The series produced 10 different winners but 16-year-oldAaron Hulings dominated the series with six wins and eight pole awards.However, he sat out the last race of the season for unknown reasons andthe championship went to Pro-4 Series veteran Bill Withers, who got thetitle without a victory. The decision to go to trucks proved to bepopular with fans and competitors alike. Over 23 different trucks with25 drivers competed in the fifteen races.
The series has become known for close championship point battles and itstarted with the 2000 season. Heading into the final race at Salem (IN)Speedway in 2000, Chad Guinn held a slim 20-point lead over our team.The team, led by crewchief Tom Cumbow, was on a mission that day inpursuit of the championship. Their hard work paid off. I won the poleand led every lap to win my fourth race of the season and firstchampionship. It was by a 25-point margin. In 2001, we became the firsttwo-time and back-to-back champions by holding off 1999 champ BillWithers by a 40-point margin. That year included three wins including afirst win on dirt at Crystal (MI) Speedway and a huge win on theone-mile Chicago Motor Speedway in conjunction with the NASCAR CraftsmanTruck series.
Truck teams are generally...
Truck teams are generally family run operations relying on local spnsorsto help the cause. Polesitter Tully Esterline, who works as a shockspecialist for a NASCAR Busch team, has Northwest Ohio's Rupp Seeds as asponsor, for example.
Chad Guinn captured his first of three championships in 2002 by acomparatively large 100-point margin with five wins in 13 races. Theseries returned to tight point battles in 2003 when Guinn, with threewins, won his second championship by a mere 30 points over rookie BrianRowe. In 2004, at the season finale at Salem (IN) Speedway, Chad had tomake a last lap pass to finish third and tie rookie sensation Brett Rowe(Brian's brother) in championship points. With the first tiebreakerbeing the number of wins, they were still tied with five each. Guinn, byvirtue of a better average finish throughout the year, was declared theseries champion for the third consecutive season. Chad has become theman to beat in the LWTS with 23 wins and eight poles in 66 starts. Therehave been 20 different winners in the six-year, 76-race history of theseries.
Most of the teams in the series are owner-driver combinations orfamily-owned. Like all racing, some of the teams are better financedthan others. Some are young guys looking to move up but most are racersthat enjoy traveling and racing at this level. The experience level runsfrom the very beginner up to the veterans with 15 or 20 years of racingunder their belts. Current NASCAR Busch Series team owner Todd Braunstarted as an owner/driver in the LWTS. Todd has since retired fromdriving but has had success as an owner in the ARCA Re/Max Series andthe Busch Series.
The 2004 championship team-...
The 2004 championship team- (l-r) driver Chad Guinn, crewchief ChuckCarroll, and owner Larry Guinn.
The Lincoln Welders Truck Series is without a doubt one of the mostversatile series in short track racing. The series has competed oneverything from _-mile and up asphalt tracks like Flat Rock (MI),Midvale (OH), Spartan (MI), Lake Erie (PA), Lorain County (OH), Kil-Kare(OH), Illiana (IN), Toledo (OH), Salem (IN), Winchester (IN), Mansfield(OH), Adirondack (NY), and many more. The series even raced at theone-mile asphalt Chicago Motor Speedway before it shut down. Some of thedirt tracks the series has visited are LaSalle (IL), Crystal (MI), TerreHaute (IN), Lawrenceburg (IN) and the legendary DuQuoin (IL) StateFairgrounds mile dirt. As if that wasn't enough diversity, the beautiful1.1 mile-road course at Virginia International Raceway was added to theseries in 2004.
Two-time series champion Robbin...
Two-time series champion Robbin Slaughter will return to the series in2005 and will be a force for the championship.
Another plus for the series occurs in 2005 when renowned stock carracing chassis builder Howe Racing Enterprises will become an approvedmanufacturer/supplier of chassis for the touring truck series, joiningcurrent approved chassis builders Pate Manufacturing of Hamilton, OH,and Ed & Company of Columbus, OH, both of which have been involved sincethe series' inception in 1999. Howe Racing Enterprises, based inBeaverton, Michigan, is one of the most respected names in short trackracing, and has been building winning race cars for more than 30 years,earning dozens and dozens of track and series championships throughoutthe United States.
ARCA officials recently announced a five-year contract extension withthe Lincoln Electric Company for entitlement sponsorship of the ARCALincoln Welders Truck Series through 2009. The series is headed towardits seventh consecutive season of competition in 2005. Lincoln Electrichas been the title sponsor since the series' inception.
With a solid point fund, a good schedule at some outstanding facilitiesacross the Midwest and Canada, the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series isthe place to be in 2005 as a competitor or as a fan! Find out more aboutthe series at: www.arcaracing,com or www.slaughterracing.com
(Editor's Note: Robbin Slaughter is a former ARCA Truck series championwho writes a column for the series Website www.aracracing.com. Slaughterwill return to the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck series in 2005.)