ARCA Turns 50 At Pocono In 2010
November 17, 2009 | 4:14 P.M. EST
The series, which made its Pocono debut on the now defunct three-quarter-mile oval in 1969, has been an annual staple on the 2.5-mile "Tricky Triangle" since 1983 with two events per season.
And when the ARCA sanction returns for the next event on June 5th, 2010, it will mark the 50th appearance of the series on the Long Pond, Pennsylvania triangular superspeedway.
While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been the main focus at Pocono through the years, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to zone-in on Pocono's rich stock car history without referencing ARCA.
Actually, ARCA first arrived at Pocono in 1969 when Bobby Watson held off Benny Parsons to win the inaugural race on the old three-quarter-mile oval that used to occupy space in the infield.
But it wasn't until 1983 that the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX would compete on the 2.5-mile track; and it's been there ever since as a steady, sturdy preamble to the next-day NASCAR Cup 500-miler.
In addition to serving as a quality supporting show, the ARCA races have included some of the biggest names in motorsports - Joey Logano's win last June certainly comes to mind.
Even at the very start, big-name drivers were competing in ARCA-sanctioned races at Pocono. In fact, series veteran Bob Schacht held off the late Davey Allison to win the inaugural Quaker State 150 in 1983. The event also marked the first-ever nationally televised ARCA race when viewers from across America tuned in on ESPN for the LIVE telecast.
Schacht would go on to post six victories at Pocono over the next 10 years becoming the all-time winner there until three-time series champion Tim Steele eclipsed the mark with nine wins, including five consecutive in the mid- to late-90s.
And, had it not been for a NASCAR invasion - a precursor to today's high-profile Cup development teams that compete regularly in ARCA - Steele may have won 10 consecutive events. But it was not to be when Jeff Purvis, in a James Finch Chevrolet, and Mike Wallace, in a Junie Donlavey Ford, dominated the victory lane circle for the next four races.
No matter the winner, the victory lane celebrations over the years at Pocono have been an incredible combination of ARCA talent mixed with some big-time NASCAR flavor.
In addition to nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel winning three times at Pocono, development drivers' Kerry Earnhardt (2000), Ryan Newman (2000), Casey Atwood (2002), Casey Mears (2003), Scott Riggs (2004), Travis Kvapil (2005), Chad McCumbee (2007), Michael McDowell (2007), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2008), and most recently Logano in 2009 are past Pocono ARCA winners.
The 2009 ARCA champion Justin Lofton was the most recent winner in August of 2009.
In addition to the June 5th date, Pocono officials have also announced that the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX will also accompany the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono for the July 31st/August 1st race weekend.