News Analysis: NASCAR buys ARCA

What happened: The Automobile Racing Club of America — better known as ARCA — was purchased by NASCAR in a deal announced Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway. ARCA will continue to operate under its current structure through this season and all of next year until things get reorganized in 2020.

What it means: It’s hard to grasp all the motivations at play here, and I don’t think they’re obvious yet. NASCAR already has the K&N East and West Series, which are somewhat on the same level as ARCA. So what gives? Well, Kevin Harvick said something interesting recently, and it might be telling: “Everybody wants to go run ARCA” to advance their careers after Late Models instead of running K&N. “ARCA runs on more ISC race tracks than the K&N East or West does, so the kids that are coming up through the series want to be on those racetracks,” he said. “That conversation shouldn’t ever be had. It should never be a thought.” Perhaps NASCAR is looking at this purchase as an opportunity to combine ARCA with its K&N Series and address exactly what Harvick was talking about, thus cementing its place as the organization for stock cars on every level (from NASCAR Home Tracks to Cup).

News value (scale of 1-10): There are two different values for this one. If you’re just a NASCAR Cup Series fan, this isn’t huge news for you — maybe a 4. The impact most fans would likely notice is around the support races during a Cup weekend. But if you’re a grassroots stock-car racing fan who follows the sport at all levels, this is a big day and might be as high as an 8.

Three questions: How will the NASCAR ladder system change in light of this acquisition? Will ARCA still be able to have its own identity, or will it get NASCAR-ized and called something like “K&N Midwest?” Is there any chance some of the short tracks ARCA runs could be a venue for a NASCAR national series race, such as the Trucks?

13 Replies to “News Analysis: NASCAR buys ARCA”

  1. I hope NASCAR doesn’t allow Cup teams to field ARCA cars. It’s priced teams out of Cup, Xfinity & Trucks. Keep the true “grass roots” of ARCA.

    1. They already do occasionally . Hendrick , Gibbs and Childress all ran in races last year .

    2. You mean the grass roots teams like the Wayne Peterson cars running 15 mph off the pace and essentially being a rolling chicane? No thanks. Hope with the NASCAR purchase, teams like that disappear from ARCA; it’s what has made the series a laughing stock for quite some time.

    3. Yea. Don’t allow arca to be ruined by cup drivers like what’s happened in the Xfinity series. Back in the 80s & 90s Xfinity was a stand alone division with its regular set of drivers like cup is and they allowed these well funded cup teams to come in and dominate nearly every week. And the argument about the cup drivers making the xfinity drivers better is poor at best. Ask the xfinity drivers if the well funded cup teams with cup drivers make them better drivers and they will give you a big fat NO. The cup drivers do nothing but ruin the series. Their for sure not packing the stands.

      1. Dale Earnhardt regularly ran the Busch Series in the 80’s as did many other Cup drivers who wanted to own a team and drive for it, so not sure what you’re talking about.

        Every driver interviewed in Xfinity and Trucks says they need guys like Kyle Busch to step down to those 2 series so they can learn how Cup drivers race, and earn their respect before they step up to Cup. So not sure what you’re talking about there either.

        And finally, if you track the TV ratings and ticket sales when Cup drivers run Xfinity, it goes up for big name drivers, so not sure what you’re talking about there either.

        One last point, local tracks like Slinger, Hickory, Myrtle Beach, Winchester, Five Flags, etc. regularly hosted Cup drivers from at least the 70’s to present day. To do what? SELL MORE TICKETS!

  2. NASCAR just bought one of the last remaining threats to their hegemony in big time stock car racing. Wonder how long until ARCA is merged with the K&N series.

  3. I can’t look kindly on the purchase. It’s like many industries where the bigger entity consumes the smaller for the sole purpose of killing off the ‘competition’ and revenue it represents. Eventually we will only have the option of one flavor.

    1. I completely agree. The monopoly will kill off the dirt mile races and make this just another K&N series. ARCA must be in big financial trouble to have done this. The track lineup for ARCA is more compelling than the Nascar lineup. That will be the first to go.

  4. I can’t look kindly on the purchase. It’s like many industries where the bigger entity consumes the smaller for the sole purpose of killing off the ‘competition’ and revenue it represents. Eventually we will only have the option of one flavor.

  5. Mixed emotions. I was crew member, and spotter for an ARCA team that ran the whole series, with a three man base unit at the shop. Me, the crew chief, and the owner, and all of us had “real jobs”, working on the cars at night. Sometimes overnight. We would get help from the team members of the guys who worked with him. That was always changing with the driver. But the constant was the three of us. After the owner cut back to a part time team. I was enjoying the ARCA atmosphere, and wanted, to stay. That’s when I approached then ARCA President Bob Loga for a job in ARCA. I was an official/and inspector, worked up to flagman. Worked as a part-cup official.
    All I wish for is that ARCA can keep its identity. But as with all things NASCAR, it’ll get sucked up a buried like the racing version of the WWE does. Sucked up like Spongebob on a bender. . . RIP ARCA.

  6. I would love to see a clearly-differentiated ladder system that allows drivers / teams to go from smaller short tracks to limited regional racing, a short season national series before advancing to the big three national series’.

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