For the past several years there has been no clear cut favorite as the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rolls into Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery for the annual spring short-track classic.
And this year will be no exception when the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio unfolds on Sunday afternoon, April 28th.
Sixteen different drivers have won the last 17 ARCA races on the lightning-fast high banks dating back to the fall of 2004.
Current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, Justin Allgaier, is the only ARCA driver to have recorded repeat wins at Salem during that 17 race period, notching back-to-back wins with a victory in the fall of 2007 and spring of 2008.
Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion, Frank Kimmel, tops the all-time ARCA win list at Salem with nine victories to his credit. However, the Borden, Ind., driver has not won on his “home track” since September of 2008.
The popular second generation driver, who finished ninth at Daytona and fourth at Mobile in the first two races of the season, is currently tied with Mason Mingus for the lead in the season point standings. Kimmel will face a stiff challenge from a strong field of ARCA competitors in his bid for a return visit to victory lane at Salem.
Heading the list of challengers is John Wes Townley of Watkinsville, Ga., who kicked-off the 2013 season in February by winning the Lucas Oil ARCA 200 at Daytona in a car fielded by Venturini Motorsports.
Townley, a veteran of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has two seventh place finishes at Salem in three career starts on the high banks..
Mingus, an 18-year-old high school senior from Brentwood, Tenn., leads ARCA’s young generation of hard-chargers to the high banks for the 93rd appearance of the ARCA Racing Series at Salem. Over the years, no track has appeared more on ARCA’s annual schedule than Salem has.
Mingus, who finished ninth in his very first start at Daytona and fourth at Mobile, has plenty of experience on the Salem oval and is a former winner in late model competition at the southern Indiana track.
A couple of highly touted 15-year-olds, Kyle Benjamin of Easley, S.C., and Anderson Bowen of Suwanee, Ga., are quickly turning heads in the ARCA ranks. Benjamin, driving for Venturini Motorsports, finished an impressive second at Mobile International Speedway on March 9th. Bowen, driving for Cunningham Motorsports, notched an equally notable finish with a third place showing at the Alabama track.
Another young driver to keep an eye on is Mason Mitchell of W. Des Moines, Iowa, who is currently third in the season standings. The 18-year-old Mitchell, who ran an ASA Late Model Series race at Salem at the age of 14, is driving for Roulo Brothers Racing in 2013, the defending ARCA Racing Series championship team.
Other top entries include Tom Hessert of Cherry Hill, N.J., who won the 2012 ARCA Fall Classic at Salem; Grant Enfinger of Fairhope, Ala., the winner of the 2013 ARCA Mobile 200; Will Kimmel of Sellersburg, Ind., a former Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery late model champion; former Indy Car driver Milka Duno of Caracas, Venezuela; and Justin Boston of Baltimore, Md.
Adding to the local flavor of the event will be Bo LeMastus of Louisville, Brett Hudson of Owensboro, Darrell Basham of Henryville, Ind., and Blake Hillard of Owensboro.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio will also mark the next to last Salem race for former NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year, James Hylton. The 78-year-old Inman, S.C. driver, who finished runner-up in the Cup Series standings on three occasions, announced earlier this year at Daytona that the 2013 season would be his Farewell Tour as a driver.
The first 2,000 paying spectators, age 18 and over, through the ticket gate on Sunday will receive a free $2 Cash for Life scratch-off ticket compliments of the Hoosier Lottery. Additional prizes from the Hoosier Lottery will also be given-away throughout the day.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio is spread out over the weekend with ARCA practice and pole qualifying scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Practice and qualifications for the Lucas Oil Great American Stocks will also take place on Saturday. The ARCA 200 is slated to roll off at 2:15 on Sunday afternoon. The Lucas Oil Great American Stocks kicks-off Sunday’s action with the Crosley Radio 50 at 1 p.m. (EDT).
The First Harrison Bank on-track autograph session is scheduled to get underway at 11:30 a.m.
Tickets, both reserved and general admission, are now selling for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio and may be purchased by calling 812-883-6504 or toll free 1-888-246-7223. Tickets may also be purchased on-line at www.salemspeedway.com. Advance general admission tickets for Sunday are priced at $24 for adults and $5 for children (age 7-12). Kids, age 6 and under, are admitted free. Saturday admission is free with Sunday ticket or $6 without. Reserved seat tickets are also available for Sunday’s race.
BRAD KESELOWSKI’S No. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
FUSION SHOW CAR WILL BE ON DISPLAY SUNDAY
Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion show car will be on display at Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery on Sunday as part of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio.
Race fans are invited to take a photo with the Ford Fusion, participate in a simulated pit stop tire change and receive giveaways while supplies last.