Three wide at Winchester Speedway in Indiana.
If you're a fan of the oval track racing world then it's a pretty good bet you know of the Automobile Racing Club of America, or ARCA, and its marquee touring group the RE/Max Series. There you can still see a knock-down, drag-out type of racing where rubbing fenders is common and allowed. Racing on tracks of all styles including dirt, pavement, and even a road course, the RE/Max Series kicks it all off at Daytona International Speedway to start the big track's annual Speedweeks.
What most may not realize is that ARCA has another very unique series known as the Lincoln Welders Truck Series. The series actually came about as an evolutionary product of the old ARCA Pro 4 Modified Division which saw action from 1988 through 1998 with a transition to the truck division in 1999. The trucks have flourished on the coattails of title sponsor Lincoln Welders, which has backed the series since its inception.
Two thousand nine will mark the eleventh consecutive year of competition for this series, which has established itself as one of the most diverse traveling series in the country competing on both dirt and pavement tracks just like its big brother the RE/Max Series. The tracks the truckers see competition on range in size from one quarter to one mile in length.
Veteran Indiana racer Steve Christman has raced almost anything with wheels on oval tracks all across the country, including a stay at the NASCAR Winston Cup Series where he finished Third in Rookie of the Year points to the late Davey Allison. Finishing Third in ARCA Truck Series points in 2008 on the heels of three wins, Christman has only praise for the ARCA group.
"This is a very relaxed and fun, yet professional division. We do travel, and go to different tracks. This is not for someone who likes to run at just one track all the time. Most traveling divisions are all really good, but with ARCA it is exceptional. It has a very good program of people that you can work with and they will work with you."
As far as cost and growth goes, Christman notes, "The cost of the ARCA Truck is about the same as a Late Model or Modified. ARCA does have an engine rule where we run a 4.3 Chevy engine and are very limited to what we can do with it."
Christman says this allows a racer to have a $7,000 or $8,000 engine and still be competitive. "You know with the cost of things, even with a Modified, whether it's dirt or asphalt, you need a very good, expensive motor. But, here it's more home-grown with some leeway on what you can do with the vehicles. The tire we are on is a 13 inch tire with a 10 inch wheel. You can overdrive these trucks but recover really well. The tires are pretty soft, yet affordable."
The ARCA Vision
"The 2009 season marks the 57th consecutive season of competition for the ARCA sanction, so it has certainly become a very recognizable name in the motorsports industry, one we feel has credibility and respect of the motorsports community," says ARCA's Director of Public Relations, Don Radebaugh.
To put it in perspective, the truck series was created for the weekly short-track racers who wanted to move up into a cost-effective professional touring series that allowed them to travel regionally and compete at a variety of short-tracks on both dirt and pavement. The series could also be utilized as a logical step for the racer who wanted to one day progress in the ARCA RE/Max Series or possibly beyond.
Nick Gullata (inside) and Danny Jackson race to the checkered flag finish at Winchester. J
Close action on the quarter-mile track at Kentucky Speedway.
The Holley 4412 is the carb of choice for the ARCA truckers.