NASCAR laid out their plans for the future of the ARCA Series when they take over control of the series following the 2019 season. It was announced back at Talladega in the spring that NASCAR would acquire the ARCA Series and since that time plans for the future have been more private than Carl Edwards’ personal life.
Saturday at Dover everyone learned the plans for the future of not only the ARCA Series but also NASCAR’s K&N East and West Series. NASCAR officials showed off the “primary points of this new competition structure” that will also include both the K&N Pro Series East and West. Under this new setup, drivers will have the opportunity to compete for 4 championships.
K&N Pro Series East/West
The K&N Pro Series West and East championship seasons will feature approximately six to eight events. Those events will take place on historic short tracks (under a mile in length) within their traditional regions.
Essentially this move cuts the current K&N schedule in half. The current K&N West and East schedules consist of 14 races. This was done to encourage the participation in the Stock Car Invitational which we will cover below.
These represent 2 of the 4 championships available.
ARCA Racing Elite Series
The ARCA Racing Elite Series presented by Menards will be made up of approximately 20 races, with at least half on speedways (over 1 mile) that include traditional companion events in both the ARCA and Pro Series.
ARCA will now become the “elite series.” It appears the plan with this series is to mold it into a groomer series for the Truck/Xfinity Series. Half of the Elite Series consists of race tracks over 1 mile. ARCA currently runs companion races at Kansas, Chicagoland, Charlotte, etc. It’s not much a change schedule wise from where we’re at today.
Driver’s must be 18 years old to compete in the Elite Series.
This represents another championship.
Stock Car Invitational
Finally, the fourth championship will be the Stock Car Invitational. This championship will consist of the remaining approximately 10 races of the Elite Series and will be on premier short tracks that have long been part of both ARCA and the K&N Pro Series. To be eligible for the championship in this three-way combination series, East and West competitors must compete in a minimum number of races across those series.
The Stock Car Invitational is aimed at both K&N Series and ARCA to create one “unified” championship. It will take place on short tracks across the country. For NASCAR fans clamoring for more short tracks, you won’t be disappointed in this championship. We’re talking more Michael Self v. Zane Smith type of things. As long as Salem is part of this championship everything will be fine. If it’s not you better build a wall around the NASCAR offices because we’re coming like a scene out of Mad Max. Going to outfit the Subaru with all kinds of weaponry.
The chassis and body will be roughly the same across all four championships. Teams competing in the Elite Series will run the current ARCA engine package, while teams competing in the Pro Series East and West will run the existing engine package in those series. Teams choosing to compete for the Stock Car Invitational title must race with the same engine they used in the Elite or Pro Series East / West.
This is really interesting to see how the two packages shape up against one another. Especially the engine package, naturally NASCAR will make them close but if we have an OEM v. Spec engine situation like the Truck Series that will be fun to watch.
Drivers must be at least 15 years old to compete in the Pro Series East and West as well as the Stock Car Invitational. Drivers must be at least 18 years old to compete in the Elite Series.
This is the same current rule both series already have.
Overall this is a great set up for the series. Four championships is a little excessive but NASCAR wants the ARCA Series to be a grooming area for their three national series and that’s exactly what the “elite” series will be. A unified K&N/ARCA championship will be really fun to watch as well. It’s a win win for everyone and could give a driver the opportunity to win three championships in 1 year.
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