COVINGTON KY (12-13-03) At the annual ARCA RE/MAX Series championship awards banquet press conference in Covington, Kentucky, series officials announced plans to televise at least 14 races live or same-day-delayed in 2004 on SPEED Channel.
In addition, ARCA and SPEED Channel have reached an agreement in principle for SPEED to televise a minimum of 13 ARCA RE/MAX Series races in each of the next three seasons, with the efforts toward growing that number of events.
RE/MAX Series races on SPEED in 2004 include the season-opening 41st annual Daytona ARCA 200 on February 7, both events at Nashville Superspeedway, both events at Kentucky Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway, the June race at Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Gateway Int'l Raceway, Toledo Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Salem Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
There are also plans to announce additional ARCA RE/MAX Series televised events for the '04 season.
In addition, the May 8th race at Kentucky, billed as the Channel 5-205, will air live locally in the Cincinnati, Ohio market on the NBC affiliate WLWT for the third consecutive season. WLWT will also sponsor the event.
Series Sponsorship Announcements:
SUNOCO OFFICIAL FUEL OF ARCA
Sunoco, the world's largest manufacturer of premium racing gasoline, will be the Official Fuel of the ARCA RE/MAX Series beginning with the 2004 season opener at Daytona Int'l Speedway.
"We're really pleased to become the Official Fuel of the ARCA RE/MAX Series," said Sunoco Senior Vice President of Marketing Bob Owens. "This series has, for over 50 years, played an important role in motorsports, and Sunoco will now fuel those efforts. Our reputation for producing racing gasoline of the highest quality is well established over the past two decades, and we are committed to providing the same high quality product and service to teams in the ARCA RE/MAX Series."
"Racing fuel is certainly a critical element in our sport, and we've got a great deal of confidence in the Sunoco product, " said ARCA President Ron Drager. "Sunoco's commitment to motorsports and its history of success in our industry is evidenced by Sunoco's status as the supplier to more than 30 racing series and over 400 weekly race tracks. It would also be appropriate to thank the 76 racing fuel brand for its substantial support of the sport and the ARCA RE/MAX Series, which dates back to our first race at Daytona in 1964. We're looking forward to establishing the same type of relationship with Sunoco over the initial 10-year term of this agreement and beyond."
ARCA RE/MAX Series teams will be powered by Sunoco racing fuel beginning December 19-21, the date of the annual practice session at Daytona Int'l Speedway in preparation for the Daytona ARCA 200 race Sat. Feb. 7, 2004. At present, 40 teams have registered for the three-day test including veterans' Greg Sacks, Bobby Gerhart and Andy Hillenburg as well as rookies' David Ragan, Blake Feese and Aaron Fike to name a few.
RE/MAX Series officials also announced new contingency programs with Tex Racing-Hawk Brake and Spraker Racing, a full-service race facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. Spraker Racing provides anything from full body fabrication to parts and components to gears and transmissions.
Shaver Motorsports Engines announced a three-year program in which the engine builder will provide cash awards to the top three finishers in each race provided these finishers are utilizing engines either purchased or leased through Shaver. The new alliance also utilizes a contingency program, which would award (appropriate decal required) the 10th, 15th and 20th place finishers in each race $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000 respectively with labor credits.
Five-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel announced his plans to return to the series fulltime in 2004 and defend his championship. With longtime team sponsor Pork The Other White Meat already signed on for 2004, Kimmel said, "Negotiations are also going very well with Advance Auto Parts for 2004. We're also very excited to announce a new partnership with Tex-Racing, makers of the finest transmissions and gears." Kimmel, now third on the all-time win list with 50 victories, became the first driver in series history to win four consecutive championships (2000, '01, '02, '03).
ML Motorsports, along with driver Jason Jarrett, announced the addition of sponsors' Gladiator^Ù GarageWorks by Whirlpool Corporation and Bennigan's Grill and Tavern® for the 2004 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. Team members from ML Motorsports unveiled the new paint scheme with Gladiator^Ù GarageWorks and Bennigan's decals emblazoned on the #67 Mary Louse Miller-owned Chevrolet driven by Jarrett on the RE/MAX Series tour. ML Motorsports also extended Jarrett's contract for two more years. It was also announced that ML Motorsports hired veteran crew chief Tom Sokoloski for the 2004 season. Sokoloski crew-chiefed three-time series champion Tim Steele to the series title in 1996.
Todd Bowsher, son of three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series driving champion and stock car legend Jack Bowsher, announced that he would be returning to the tour fulltime in 2004 as would his team title sponsor Gordon Food Service and GFS Marketplace. Gordon Food Service is the largest privately owned food service distributor in North America, with their headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The familiar #21 GFS Marketplace Ford entries will be prepared by his father Jack who also serves as crew chief.
Brent Sherman, who finished fourth in RE/MAX Series points in 2003, announced that he would also be returning for the full season in 2004. In addition, Sherman announced that his fleet of Ford Tauruses would carry sponsorship from Serta Mattress and Hickory Farms. Veteran crew chief Lee Leslie will also be returning.
Series veteran Andy Belmont announced that his team title sponsor Verizon would be returning for the '04 season with associate sponsors' Continental Fire & Safety, Southern Pan Services and new associate sponsor Auto Trader Online. In addition, Belmont announced plans to campaign a second car in 2004 with ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series graduate Brandon Knupp at the controls. Knupp, of Sidney, Ohio, was the Truck Series Rookie of the Year in 2002 and Most Improved driver in 2003.
Braun Racing, who with driver Chad Blount finished second in ARCA RE/MAX Series championship points in 2002, is returning to the RE/MAX Series tour with two teams for the 2004 season. In Dodges purchased from the Chip Ganassi NASCAR Nextel Cup Series stable, plans are to run each team in 13 superspeedway races with drivers' Deborah Renshaw in a #64 Dodge and rookie Ryan Hemphill in a #77 Dodge.
As a sidebar to the Braun announcement, 16-year-old rookie Josh Allison of Waverly Indiana will share the #64 with Renshaw in '04. Plans are to run Allison in the short-track events with Renshaw completing the superspeedway portion of the schedule. Veteran crew chief Eddie Kelley, who engineered Shelby Howard's three-year plight in the RE/MAX Series, will serve as Allison's crew chief.
Veteran NASCAR Nextel Cup and ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Ken Ragan also sent news regarding his plans to run his son David Ragan in the #95 Sadler Racing Ford in the first three RE/MAX Series races of the season at Daytona, Nashville and Salem with plans to add more events. Renowned NASCAR/ARCA crew chief Barry Owen has been hired as the crew chief. In only two RE/MAX Series starts in 2003, David finished a career-best 12th at Lake Erie Speedway after starting outside pole in his first series start. Ken Ragan made 23 RE/MAX Series starts from 1982 -- 1992 with career-best runs of second at Atlanta and third at Talladega in 1991.