The event will reconnect the ARCA/Nashville union, one that reaches back to 1959 when three-time ARCA champion Nelson Stacy won the inaugural 300-lap event on June 21. From there, the list of ARCA winners at Nashville reads like a who’s-who of champions.
Current ARCA Racing Series point leader Grant Enfinger hopes to add both categories (Nashville winner & ARCA champion) to his resume in 2015, and he’s off to another great start.
The Fairhope, Alabama driver opened the season with back-to-back wins at Daytona and Mobile, just as he did last year. The feat marked the first time in ARCA history that one driver has won the first two events of the season in back-to-back years. And let’s not forget that he also won the third race in 2014. Enfinger and the No. 23 GMS Racing-Allegiant Travel team is bringing the same car that went to Victory Lane last week at Mobile (right). However, like most on the entry list, the majority of the drivers will circle the Nashville track for the first time.
“Never raced there (at Nashville),” Enfinger said. “Always wanted to…I’ve been to the All American 400 and I was able to go down a couple years ago to help Mike Garvey, but I’ve never raced there. It’s always been on my bucket list. I think Nashville’s one of those tracks that’s on everyone’s bucket list.”
In addition to being one of those “bucket list” tracks, Nashville pumps out champions, especially for those who steer their way into the winner’s circle on the super-fast 5/8ths-mile banked oval.
After Stacy’s ARCA win, other notable race winners/champions at Nashville include Jack Bowsher (ARCA champion), Don White (USAC Stock Car champion), Harold Smith (ARCA champion), Ramo Stott (ARCA champion), Moose Myers (ARCA champion), Marvin Smith (ARCA champion), and David Green (NASCAR Xfinity champion). And we haven’t even mentioned some of the other ARCA Nashville winners Andy Hampton, Red Farmer and Coo Coo Marlin, all of whom were track champions several times over. 19-time ARCA winner Bob Schacht won three consecutive at Nashville in 1981, ’82 and ’83.
“A lot of my heroes have won there,” Enfinger added. “If history repeats itself, winning at Nashville makes champions. This one’s gunna be big. They’re all big, but some carry more weight based on the history of the track and all the great drivers who won there. It’s an awesome facility…it reminds me of the fairgrounds in Springfield and DuQuoin…the covered grandstands. It’s got a really cool feel to it. Hopefully, our GMS Racing Chevy will be as good as it was at Mobile.
“Luckily, we came out of Mobile without a lot of damage. We had a little fender damage so we need to fix that up, but I can assure you the guys at GMS are working hard on it. Once Nashville gets here, the races really start coming at us. We’ve got these few weeks to prepare, but we’re also focusing on our road course and intermediate car to try and get ahead of it. We have a lot of momentum right now. We need to take that with us to Nashville.”
While racing began at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as early as 1904, the track which evolved into the current day Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville held its first race in 1958. The track was also home to 42 NASCAR Sprint Cup races from 1958-1984 with Richard Petty leading all drivers with nine wins followed by Darrell Waltrip with eight. Other Cup winners include Joe Weatherly, David Pearson, Bobby Isaac, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, Benny Parsons and Dale Earnhardt. The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced there nine times from 1984-2000, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series held five races from 1996-2000. Under the management of promoter Tony Formosa, Jr. the track continues to present regularly scheduled races throughout the summer months, highlighted by the annual All American 400.
On-track activities for the 24th Nashville ARCA 200 begin Saturday, April 11 with the first practice session from 12:15-1:00 p.m., followed by the second and final practice session from 1:45-2:30. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place at 5:00 Saturday afternoon. The Nashville ARCA 200 is set to start at 8:00.
Southern Super Series late models to join ARCA
Raceday will also include the Southern Super Series as a companion race to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. The addition of the super late model tour adds a 100-lap Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco race at 6:00 before the ARCA cars and stars take center stage for the grand finale.
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.
CONTACT: Don Radebaugh, email@example.com