NASCAR has purchased the longtime feeder division ARCA, including its top ARCA Racing Series, bringing together the top two stock car sanctioning bodies.
For decades, two distinct stock car sanctioning bodies have run the racing world in the United States. NASCAR is the big brother, growing in leaps and bounds over the years into the powerhouse sport it is today. Its little brother ARCA remained small and regional, however, capitalizing on the short tracks around the midwestern United States. That separation between the two is officially over, with NASCAR purchasing ARCA as announced on Friday.
In an announcement at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR Vice Chairman Jim France and ARCA President Ron Drager confirmed the close 60-year relationship between the two series would become one body beginning in 2020. ARCA will continue to operate separately from NASCAR in 2018, and will maintain normal operations in 2019 as well. Details of how this union between the two sanctioning bodies will continue from 2020 forward remain unknown at this time.
ARCA President Ron Drager is excited for what the future holds with the NASCAR merger, according to NASCAR.com:
"Our position in the industry over all these years — 67 years — has been really intertwined with NASCAR. Before there was a NASCAR, before there was an ARCA, there was a relationship between the Marcum and France families. And over all these years and over all this period of time, we at ARCA have been fortunate to carve out a spot in the industry and to be able to be a constructive part of our sport. I think this is really just coming back full circle to where things started out. This provides ARCA with sustainability.We’re all looking toward the future and trying to figure out where we need to be and how best to stabilize and come together to make the sport stronger. I think a coming-together is a good way to do it."
Jim France also expressed his optimism for both divisions with this purchase:
"There aren’t many industries, particularly sports franchises or leagues, that support an industry the way the France family and Marcum-Drager family has. And for them to join forces and come back together after all these years, I think that’s a compliment to not just their families, but a big message to motorsports participants, whether a car owner, crew member or participant, or fan. I think it shows that both of those families believe in the future of stock car racing and motorsports."
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The merger will likely see a change in the NASCAR ladder rising to the Cup Series, as often the ARCA Racing Series has been seen as an intermediate step between the K&N Pro Series and the Camping World Truck Series. Questions over rebranding the ARCA Racing Series under the NASCAR moniker will likely float for some time as well, with the ARCA name having been around for over half a century.
The reaction from teams and drivers will also be interesting to watch. Joe Gibbs Racing and MDM Motorsports are currently the only teams that compete in both ARCA and NASCAR, though other teams including Win-Tron Racing, Venturini Motorsports, and Chad Bryant Racing (formerly Cunningham Motorsports) have previously participated. It would also be possible to see other NASCAR teams from the K&N Pro Series and Camping World Truck Series now join ARCA, such as Kyle Busch Motorsports and Bill McAnally Racing.
Are you excited to see NASCAR purchase ARCA and bring stock car racing all under one umbrella? How do you think this will change the development ladder to the NASCAR Cup Series?