(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 25, 2011) - With numerous major racing divisions converging on the Indianapolis metropolitan area this weekend for some of the year's most highly-anticipated events, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will open the action in Thursday's Ansell Protective Gloves 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway - the series' first visit to the former Indianapolis Raceway Park in nearly 26 years.
The Ansell Protective Gloves 200, scheduled for 7 p.m., will be the first race in the track's Thursday night Kroger SpeedFest tripleheader, as ARCA will join the USAC Midget and Silver Crown Series on the 0.686-mile oval in Clermont, just west of Indianapolis.
ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring of the 200-lap event, and SPEED will open its television coverage (on same-day delay, from the race's start) at 8 p.m.
Thursday's action precedes NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series action at the track on the next two nights, as well as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
"USAC and Lucas Oil Raceway have provided us with a tremendous opportunity to join what is already a great night of racing during the Kroger SpeedFest," said ARCA president Ron Drager. "We hope to add to the energy and excitement of all the racing taking place in Indianapolis this week."
ARCA's appearance will be the series' first race at Lucas Oil Raceway since August 3, 1985, when Bob Schacht won for the second time. Schacht is the all-time leading ARCA winner in the series' seven-race history at the track, and is entered this week.
One of five drag racing facilities owned and operated by the National Hot Rod Association, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis was built in 1960 and has presented organized racing events since 1961. From March through October, the facility hosts more than 120 dates of racing on three tracks: a quarter-mile drag strip, the 0.686-mile paved oval, and a 2.5-mile road course.
Bob Sargent, president of Track Enterprises, is the promoter of the ARCA stock car portion of Thursday's activities.
"Having promoted a large number of USAC and ARCA events at various facilities in the past decade, I'm very familiar with the quality of racing events USAC and ARCA have provided for race fans," said Sargent. "Being able to see a USAC National Midget Series, USAC Silver Crown Series, and ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race in one night makes this a real value for the ticket buyer."
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton will enter the race in the No. 88 Kimmel Racing Ford, branded by Menards and Messina Wildlife Management. He has 10 truck starts at Lucas Oil Raceway, including top-fives in 2005, 2008, and 2010.
Like Crafton, Truck Series full-timer James Buescher (No. 4 Great Clips Chevrolet) will also make a spot start in the Ansell Protective Gloves 200, driving for Turner Motorsports. The three-time ARCA race winner has previously competed at Lucas Oil three times, once in the Nationwide Series and twice in trucks. In his two Truck Series starts, Buescher has finished sixth (2009) and fifth (2010). He is a cousin of full-time ARCA Racing Series driver Chris Buescher (No. 17 Reliance Tool/David Ragan Ford Ford), who is currently second in the standings and trails rookie Ty Dillon (No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) by 270 points.
Joey Coulter (No. 16 Rip It Energy Fuel/Darrell Gwynn Foundation Chevrolet) is running a part-time ARCA schedule this season and will also enter the Ansell Protective Gloves 200 one night before racing a truck. He recently tested his Coulter Motorsports car at Lucas Oil Raceway. Despite the oval's width, he says, drivers will have to work hard for passes.
"As wide of a race track as it is, the groove's really narrow," Coulter said. "There's not a lot of places to go to get around people. There's a lot of finesse that's going to have to go on there. That's the big thing, I think, that I'm going to pick up from the ARCA race, just how to get through traffic. We'll be able to see where the race track goes once it cools off and gets dark. There are a lot of trends we'll be able to pick up on that will help us for Friday night."
Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford) is one full-time ARCA driver with considerable experience at Lucas Oil, having made four Truck Series starts at LOR between 2006 and 2009. McCumbee finished 17th in 2006.
The race will be extra special for nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel (pictured), driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford. Any event in his home state of Indiana receives added attention on the calendar, and one sponsored by one of his co-primary car sponsors certainly rises to the top of the list.
"It's pretty awesome that we're getting to race at LOR for the first time in 20-some odd years," said Kimmel, who is currently third in points. "I'm pretty anxious to get out on the track and put a few laps under my belt. I'd love to go out there and win this one for Ansell. They've been great to me over the past few years and it would mean a lot if I could repay them by ending up in the winner's circle at the race they're sponsoring."
Practice for the 12th of 19 ARCA Racing Series events this year begins Thursday at 1:30 p.m., and lasts for 90 minutes. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will start at 4:30. ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage of both activities.
As part of its series presenting sponsorship and its relationship with Ansell, Menards is offering tickets for the race at $10 off of the advertised at-track price. Fans can now buy tickets for the ARCA and USAC tripleheader at $25 each at 14 Menards stores throughout Indiana: Anderson, Avon, Bloomington, Camby, Carmel, Columbus, Greenwood, Kokomo, Lafayette, Terre Haute, West Lafayette, and three stores in Indianapolis.
The in-store ticket promotion will last until Wednesday, July 27, one day before the race.