COVINGTON KY -- With Frank Kimmel's 2002 championship Ford Taurus paired up with Benny Parson's 1968 championship Ford Torino as center pieces, the annual ARCA RE/MAX Series press conference went off without a hitch Saturday afternoon at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky.
ARCA officials announced plans to televise 17 of 22 RE/MAX Series races in 2003, 13 on SPEED Channel and four on The Outdoor Channel.
SPEED Channel's ARCA programming slate includes 10 races live while the other three will be same-day delayed. The Outdoor Channel plans to air ARCA programming on a tape-delayed basis.
Live RE/MAX Series races on SPEED include the season-opening 40th annual Daytona ARCA 200 on February 8, Atlanta Motor Speedway, both events at Nashville Superspeedway, Kentucky Speedway, both Lowe's Motor Speedway events, the July race at Pocono Raceway, Winchester Speedway and Salem Speedway in September under the lights for the first time. June events at Pocono and Michigan Int'l Speedway as well as the October race at Talladega will be aired same-day in primetime pm slots. In addition, the May 10th race at Kentucky, billed as the Channel 5-205, will air live locally in the Cincinnati, Ohio market on the NBC affiliate WLWT. In addition, WLWT will be the title sponsor of the event for the second consecutive season.
The Outdoor Channel, on a tape-delayed basis, will air RE/MAX Series races from Toledo Speedway, Kansas Speedway, South Boston Speedway and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt-mile. In addition, 'ARCA Racing This Week', a weekly news-magazine show dedicated exclusively to ARCA racing will air on The Outdoor Channel in 2003 for the fourth consecutive season with another 26-week run.
Additional press conference notes:
Four-time and defending ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel announced that longtime team sponsor Advance Auto Parts will be returning as title sponsor of the Larry Clement-owned Ford team for 2003. In addition, Pork The Other White Meat will return as an associate sponsor. Kimmel also announced he would be returning to RE/MAX Series competition for the 2003 season to defend his championship. Kimmel, now third on the all-time win list with 43 victories, became the first driver in series history to earn more than $2 million in earnings boosting his career total to the $2.25 million mark in 2002.
Gladiator GarageWorks announced a three-year program to be the Official Garage of ARCA. "Gladiator GarageWorks is excited to be a partner with the ARCA RE/MAX Series for the next 3 years," said company rep Chris Hubbich. "The ARCA RE/MAX Series is an exciting, rapidly growing series with some the best drivers, owners and teams in the sport. We are proud to be the Official Garage of ARCA."
Cookies BarBQ Sauce rep Speed Herrig announced a three-year program in which Cookies would be the Official Bar-BQ Sauce of ARCA.
NASCAR Winston Cup veteran and 9-time ARCA RE/MAX Series winner Ken Schrader sent news that his 2003 plans include competing in three ARCA RE/MAX Series events with title sponsorship from Federated Auto Parts. Those events include Toledo on May 4, South Boston on July 2 and the DuQuoin dirt-mile on September 1. In addition, Federated Auto Parts has announced that it will be the presenting sponsor of the RE/MAX Series race at Toledo Speedway. The event will be titled the Toledo ARCA 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
1995 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving champion Andy Hillenburg announced that he would be returning to the series fulltime in 2003 to make a run for the championship. The 2-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner has joined forces with renowned car owner/crew chief Stan Hover for the '03 season. The team, recognized as the Hover Racing Inc.-Fast Track Alumni-Friends of Fast Track Ford, will utilize engines by GP Racing Engines (owner Gary Preziosi) out of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Montgomery Motorsports announced a partnership with American rock legend Alice Cooper who has joined forces with the team for 2003. Alice Cooper/Montgomery Racing will rock the racing world starting with the 40th annual Daytona ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway in February. The 19-year-old Montgomery, in his second season on the RE/MAX Series tour, will drive the Alice Cooper/Montgomery Racing entry for the '03 season. In his first full RE/MAX Series season in '02, Montgomery placed fourth in driver points and was runner-up in the Rookie of the Year standings. The Lebanon, Tennessee-based team is pursuing sponsorship partners for the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series and 2003 ARCA RE/MAX Series events.
Three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Tim Steele sent news from his Coopersville, Michigan shop his intention to run for the championship in 2003 utilizing Fords on the short-tracks and Dodges on the superspeedways. "I guess with the trials and tribulations we've overcome in the past year, we've only gotten stronger and more determined," said the three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion. "We feel really good about heading to Daytona in February."
Second-generation driver Todd Bowsher announced that Gordon Food Service/GFS Marketplace would become the title sponsor on his Jack Bowsher-prepared Fords for the 2003 season.
ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Mark Gibson, gearing up to run the full schedule in 2003, announced that Williams Brothers Lumber would be returning as an associate sponsor as would Cornwell Quality Tools. In addition, the 3-time RE/MAX Series winner will be switching from Fords to Chevrolets for the '03 year. Gibson is tied with Kimmel (236) with the most career starts.
Mac Hill Motorsports team owner Jack McNelly sent news about his partnership with Mooresville, North Carolina driver Jeff Spraker who will drive the Mac Hill Motorsports Pontiacs in at least 6 ARCA RE/MAX Series events in 2003. Renowned NASCAR/ARCA crew chief David Ifft has been hired as crew chief. The 6 races are Daytona, Talladega, both at Pocono and both Lowe's Motor Speedway events.