Photo Courtesy TJ Harron / TJHarron.com
MADISON, Wis. (June 16, 2016) – Mitchell, Indiana rookie and current ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship point leader Chase Briscoe leads the charge to Madison Int’l Speedway for this Sunday’s Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200.
Briscoe, who drives the No. 77 Big Tine Ford for Cunningham Motorsports, leads the championship standings over runner-up driver, Port Charlotte, Florida’s Josh Williams. Ken Schrader Racing’s Matt Kurzejewski is tied for third. Briscoe is also atop the SCOTT Rookie of the Year standings, the Valvoline Lap Leader board and the S&S Volvo Laps Completed category.
Kurzejewski, of Mansfield, Pa., climbed to third in championship standings following his eighth-place finish at Michigan Int’l Speedway last Friday. Kurzejewski drives the No. 52 Ansell-Menards Toyota. Weatherman and Williams lost ground in the standings after both fell out at Michigan.
Both Briscoe and Kurzejewski will be making their career-first starts at Madison.
Briscoe’s Cunningham Motorsports teammate at Madison will be none other than third-generation ARCA racer Will Kimmel. Kimmel is the son of eight-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Bill Kimmel and nephew of 10-time ARCA national champion Frank Kimmel. Kimmel will drive the No. 22 E3 Spark Plugs Ford with NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Paul Andrews calling the shots.
While Briscoe is dominating the headlines overall, a local favorite is sneaking his way into the storylines for Madison. Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski, a two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion and development driver for Roush Fenway Racing, will be making his ARCA Racing Series national tour debut at Madison in the No. 17 Roulo Bros. Racing Ford. Majeski, who is also a 2016 NASCAR Next Class member, is a former Midwest Tour winner at Madison.
Venturini Motorsports is also coming loaded for bear with three teams – 15-year-old rookie Christian Eckes of Middletown, N.Y., veteran Tom Hessert (No. 25 Toyota/fifth in points) and 18-year-old rookie Nicole Behar. Behar, from Spokane, Washington, is making her ARCA debut in the No. 55 TRD Toyota while Eckes, in the No. 15 New York Bus Sales Toyota, will be making his second ARCA start. Eckes finished eighth in his ARCA debut at Nashville.
Another notable entered is AJ Fike of Galesburg, Illinois. Fike, who finished second at Nashville back in April, won on the Springfield (Ill.) mile dirt in 2015. Fike is also well-known in the open wheel ranks as a two-time USAC Silver Crown Series winner at Springfield. Fike drives the No. 27 MatrixCare-Consonus Healthcare Ford.
The entry list also features its own brand of the Alabama Gang with veteran Thomas “Moose” Praytor of Mobile, Ala. and rookie Dustin Knowles of Moody, Ala. Praytor, driver of the No. 9 DK-LOK Ford, is currently sixth in championship standings. Knowles drives the No. 14 Earley’s Home Care Bullock NC Chevrolet. Other entries include Shelby Township, Michigan’s Brad Smith (No. 48 Hylton Motorsports Ford), Ballston Spa New York’s Ed Pompa (No. 10 Milwaukee Crusher Chevrolet), Henryville, Indiana’s Mike Basham (No. 34 Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet) and Louisville, Kentucky’s Bo LeMastus (No. 42 Crosley Brands Toyota).
The ARCA Racing Series heads to Madison coming off back-to-back superspeedway races at Pocono Raceway and Michigan Int’l Speedway.
ARCA’s eighth trip to Madison Int’l Speedway
The ARCA Racing Series stretches out over five decades at Madison Int’l Speedway, having first raced there in July of 1970 – two-time ARCA champion Ramo Stott won the inaugural race. Tom Bowsher won the ARCA race at Madison in May of 1971, and Bruce Gould is in the history books as the 1973 ARCA victor. However, nearly 40 years would go by before the ARCA Racing Series would return to Madison in 2011.
Modern-day ARCA winners at Madison make ARCA/NASCAR champs
More recent ARCA winners at Madison include Justin Boston (2014), Kyle Benjamin (2013), Chris Buescher (2012) and Alex Bowman (2011). Buescher, the 2012 ARCA Racing Series national champion, earned the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in 2015. Buescher is now a full-time driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Bowman also went on to compete in the Sprint Cup Series. He currently races for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series.
Composite body cars coming to Madison
The ARCA Racing Series will have a new look when it comes to town for the Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200. The ARCA Racing Series composite body car will be making its Madison debut. The composite body cars debuted on short tracks in 2015; however, it’s been since 2014 that the ARCA tour has raced at Madison. The composite cars are now eligible everywhere on tour with the exception of Talladega and Daytona. The composite bodies, which greatly reduce the possibility of debris, are a lightweight, state-of-the-art laminate blend, less than 135 pounds. Designed without compromising rigidity, the 12 separate flame retardant panels are flange-fitted together for easy installation in the shop or at track.
From Daytona to the dirt
The ARCA Racing Series, in its 64th season of competition, is often regarded as the most versatile tour in America with its unique combinations of superspeedways, short tracks, road courses and even a couple of mile dirt tracks upcoming on the schedule in Springfield, Illinois in late August and in DuQuoin, Illinois in early September. The ARCA tour opens each season at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February and concludes at Kansas Speedway in mid-October.
Madison’s ARCA race to be broadcast Live on the American Sports Network
The Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200 will be broadcast live on the American Sports Network (ASN). Race fans can also see the live broadcast at AmericanSportsNet.com. Coverage on ASN at Madison begins at 2:00 p.m. local Central time.
Weekend schedule/On-track autograph session
Practice for the ARCA Racing Series at Madison is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 from 12:30-1:15 p.m., followed by final practice from 1:45-2:30. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is at 4:00.
Raceday Sunday gets started with an on-track autograph session from Noon – 1 p.m., followed by pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions at 1:30. The 200-lap Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200 at Madison begins at 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, June 19. The race will also feature live timing and scoring and live chat at ARCAracing.com.