A quick observation . . .

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I was so excited to hear someone, in a very concise way, say what I've been saying all along in trying to describe experience levels from a lot ARCA competitors, drivers, crew chiefs, spotters, etc. So excited in fact I can't remember if it was Larry Mac or DW that said it, but to paraphrase. 'It's not always those yellow stripes (rookie drivers) that cause all the problems; but a lot of them don't know what to do when it happens.'

Exactly the correlation I have been trying to draw in experience levels. You just have more inexperienced competitors in one race in an ARCA speedway race. Now go to an ARCA non-televised race, where the "entitled" don't show up, because there's no cameras to exploit, and NASCARnians to blow smoke up peoples rear about the next chunk of "sliced bread" to come through (only) NASCAR ranks. There you will see a race for the love of the race. Now that Kenny Schrader is done in Cup he's planning to double his ARCA appearances to about 10 this year. He said the only thing better would be obtaining sponsorship to run 20.

Look down the entry lists for the 3 NASCAR races at Daytona. There are more drivers with a higher degree of ARCA experience than there seems to have ever been. But instead of bolstering one another, it's became a one-way street. The management of ARCA is still carrying on, mostly, in the tradition of Big Bill France and John Marcum. I doubt if even half the people in NASCAR can tell you who John Marcum was. But in the beginning they stood shoulder to shoulder for the good of stock-car racing. ARCA still has a points championship that covers points accumulated in one race of each discipline (one speedway, one short track, one dirt track, and one road course), named the Bill France Four Crown championship. This year it consists of NJ Motorsports Park, Chicagoland Speedway, Berlin (MI) Raceway, and the DuQuoin (IL) State Fairgrounds.

I don't like the Us vs. Them attitude I have, but they sure make it easy . . .

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Comment by Dennis Schalm on February 22, 2014 at 6:49pm

As Jimmy Durante once said. "Ha-cha-chaaa. I gotta million of 'em."

Comment by Dennis Schalm on February 22, 2014 at 6:47pm

Yeah Tim. MARC stood for Midwest Assn. for Race Cars, and as a play off of the Marcum name. When they first were invited to run Daytona, now 50 years ago, Bill France Sr. suggested a name change to reflect the broadening of MARC's reach. So it became ARCA, the Automobile Racing Club of America. They went with the shorter acronym, ala USAC. It maintained their own identity separate from NASCAR, USAC, and IMCA, but flowed like it was a word unto it's own.

I had the pleasure (well, sometimes a pleasure <LOL>) of being involved in the ARCA races at Flat Rock in all of my positions within ARCA. Crew member, spotter, pit road official, and flagman. All had their own challenges. There was not a lot of room in the infield for the pits, which made you really have to keep your head on a swivel. The phrase controlled chaos, was invented for that specific situation, I believe (well, it would have if it hadn't been coined already). I though I was safe when I got to the flagstand, but it was ground level back then. I was on the assisting side, which due to a certain sensitive ego, I usually was, I thought if I just leaned my head against my hand, which I laid on the fence pole I would be alright for watching the turn 1 and 2 side of the track.  That is until Cavin Counselor spun out of four and there we were, eye to eye, when his car came to rest at the S/F line. I backed up a bit after that.

A friend of mine who used to race Mt. Clemens Race Track, got an ARCA car so he could run a few big tracks before he quit racing, was running at the Rock. You can imagine what it would be like going around such a tight track as fast as they go, you might get a little disorientated. Well my buddy spun out coming out of one of the turns. It took a few seconds to get his bearings, and figure out if he spun on the front stretch, or if it was the back stretch, and which way he needed to go to get back on the track. After his first speedway race, at Pocono, he couldn't drive home because he couldn't keep it under the speed limit, his perception of speed being that thrown off. But he really couldn't be comfortable riding, because it seemed he could walk faster than the truck was going. So, of course, he chose sleeping as the best way to handle his plight.

As far as being able to race side-by-side(-by-side), someday I'll relate the story of the first, and so far (as far as I can recall) only, street circuit race. It was in Des Moines, Iowa, and how well they raced there, all things considered. Three wide through a 90-degree turn in downtown Des Moines? No problem.

Before I give too much of the wrong impression about the "entitled", kudos to Penske, Roush-Fenway, and probably one or two others, who do participate in the right way, by developing their talent, and supporting the teams that they drive for like Cunningham Motorsports for Penske, and the Roulo Bros. team supported by Roush. It was one of the Roulo Bros. who chose to voice his displeasure of the on-track activities that lead to "the big one" at Daytona. I understand "learning", but with the support and guidance some youngsters get, you can't help but be reminded of "should've known better", also.

I've got so many stories, but if you've have been involved long enough, and in the right situations, you end up with a million of them. Like, how about a 5 gal. "jerry can" of gas siphoning directly to the fuel pump, through the engine cover, in a cube van. Oh, and it was on someones lap. Fortunately(?), he was a double amputee, so it didn't hurt him. Thank goodness I wasn't on that trip.

Comment by Tim Leeming on February 22, 2014 at 9:52am

Dennis, I have long believe ARCA is a great sanctioning body.  I enjoy the races I get to see televised and always try to be in front of the television when I know one is on. They run some great tracks and have some really great drivers running there. 

When ARCA was running at "The Rock" I was able to make a couple of those events in person.  The passion in that group every bit equals the passion of anyone in NASCAR.  The races were hotly contested and quite exciting.  I actually saw four cars abreast coming off turn two at "The Rock".  I didn't think it would work, but it did and it was some great racing.

You are right about the "entitled".  They show up for the cameras but when the half-milers run, where are they?  ARCA reminds me of the NASCAR I loved so much in the 50s and 60s.  I don't quite recall the sequence, but wasn't it first known as "MARC" and then became ARCA?  Seems I remember that.

Thanks for the post.

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