Dirt Races Set for 2011 ARCA Racing Series Schedule; Springfield and DuQuoin Enhance Late Summer Slate (TOLEDO, Ohio) - The ARCA Racing Series is known for diversity, with superspeedways, intermediate tracks, short tracks, and dirt...
Dirt Races Set for 2011 ARCA Racing Series Schedule; Springfield and DuQuoin Enhance Late Summer Slate
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - The ARCA Racing Series is known for diversity, with superspeedways, intermediate tracks, short tracks, and dirt courses lining the schedule year after year. 2011 will be no different, as ARCA has announced its two dates for racing on the famed one-mile dirt tracks at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Ill.
The Illinois State Fairgrounds race will take place on Sunday, August 21; the DuQuoin race retains its traditional Labor Day date, Monday, September 5. The races are each scheduled under ARCA sanction for the 29th consecutive season.
"Racing on the mile dirts at Springfield and DuQuoin is part of what helps to set the ARCA Racing Series apart. It's an important component of what we do," said Ron Drager, president of ARCA. "This very directly connects us to the early onset and the founders of stock car racing. Before there were pavement tracks, racing on the fairgrounds dirt was it."
"This directly connects us to a whole community of race fans whose affinity is dirt track racing. It's important to reach out and connect with those racers and fans. Racing on the dirt is a vital, integral component of our schedule and a calculated part of our business plan. It differentiates our tour."
Championship stock car racing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds predates even the ARCA Racing Series, having started in 1950. The ARCA Racing Series' sanction of the Allen Crowe Memorial 100 - which remembers the fallen Sprint car driver who died at New Bremen (Ohio) Speedway in 1963 - began in 1983. Dean Roper won the inaugural ARCA race at the track for the first of his three series victories in Springfield.
Nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel won a series-high seven races at Springfield between 2000 and 2008, and 1989 series champion Bob Keselowski is second all-time with four wins on the mile dirt oval. In August, current ARCA Racing Series champion Patrick Sheltra made a daring pass on a restart in the final laps to take the lead, and ultimately, his first win of 2010.
Like its counterpart 150 miles away, the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds has hosted ARCA-sanctioned races since 1983. Roper won the first Southern Illinois 100 on the oval, his first of four ARCA victories at the track.
Kimmel is the dean of DuQuoin, as well, with five victories between 2001 and 2008. Billy Thomas ranks just behind Kimmel and tied with Roper, with four wins. Steve Arpin won at the track in September for the last of his series-leading three victories in 2010 and his first on dirt in the ARCA Racing Series.
The following race dates for the 2011 ARCA Racing Series schedule have already been announced:
February 12 - Daytona International Speedway
April 15 - Talladega Superspeedway
May 1 - Salem Speedway
June 4 - Chicagoland Speedway
June 11 - Pocono Raceway
June 17 - Michigan International Speedway
June 25 - Winchester Speedway
August 6 - Pocono Raceway
September 17 - Salem Speedway
October 7 - Kansas Speedway
The remainder of the schedule will be released shortly. Meanwhile, the thrilling 2010 campaign will close Saturday, December 4, with the series' Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., near Cincinnati.