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Random Lugnuts, ARCA Edition: Scheduling, Broadcasting and History

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Patrick Sheltra, ARCA Racing Series What is Random Lugnuts?  It's random bits of stock car racing commentary written on an irregular basis by an irregular racing fan.  The name is a reference to the lugnuts that go flying off a car during a pit stop:  you never know where they are going to go, what they're going to do when they get there, they can be annoying, they're often useless after a race, and every once in a while someone gets hit and they don't know exactly where it came from.
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Random Lugnuts, ARCA Edition: Scheduling, Broadcasting and History

Bill Crittenden
May 2, 2010

Opening Lap

1,754 votes in, ARCA Nation says with 32% of the vote that Steve Arpin is "realistically" the driver with the best shot at winning the ARCA Racing Series Championship in 2010.  Arpin is currently second in points, 20 back from Justin Marks, who got just 25 votes (1% of the total).

You'd think the point leader would have more than 1% of the vote total.  Or that at least he wouldn't be tied with Bryan Silas, who ranks 9th in points.  Heck, Alli Owens is 7 votes up on Marks, and she's 15th in points.

I have two thoughts about this:  one, "so much for realistically," and two, "what does a guy have to do to get some respect around here?"

On the Schedule

As ionia8 on ARCA Nation pointed out, when there's no racing, it's boring.  And the forecast for the next few weeks isn't positive, not until May 23rd (a full month since the last race on April 23rd) when the cars hit the track in Toledo.  The next time they'll be on TV, however, isn't until June 5 when they go to Pocono.

Lately I've also been watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which has kept me occupied when there isn't any racing on TV.  But there's a situation in best-of-seven hockey playoffs, when teams might play four intense games in quick succession and then wait for their next opponent to finish all seven games.  They are rested, but sometimes sitting and waiting throws them off their game.

I wonder if the same sort of thing happens to ARCA drivers and teams.  The drivers raced the season opener February 6th, waited two weeks and raced again February 27th.  After a 2 week wait, they raced the last three weekends in April and now they're off for a month.

Does the on-again-off-again schedule affect them differently?  Do some have a little trouble getting back into their groove, while others feel like they never left, and is it based on how they spend the "downtime?"

After May 23rd, we'll have another chance to observe this phenomenon with races June 5 and June 11 followed by another long wait until the July 10th event.

If anyone knows how a particular driver or team is going to spend this wait between races, let me know!  E-mail me at mailto:admin@carsandracingstuff.com.  If I can compile enough anecdotes I can compare them to their performance in at Toledo.

Broadcast Booth

It seems that the ARCA races are only televised when they are in the same town on the same weekend as NASCAR.  Apparently Speed Channel won't send out its cameras to catch an ARCA race all by itself.

I can understand the economics of sending a full TV crew with millions of dollars in equipment when its needed at the same time in another town where NASCAR is racing, and NASCAR brings in more money for the network, but I don't have to like it.  Before I would have suggested that ARCA go and follow the Camping World Truck Series more, so that they can get more television exposure for their sponsors and us fans can watch the full schedule.

It's really unfortunate, because just about every stock car fan I know would love to see the modern cars on the dirt at Springfield or DuQuoin, but neither is televised.  So unless you live in Illinois or near southern Illinois, you don't get to see what an interesting show ARCA is capable of putting on.

At least, the concept is interesting.  I wouldn't know how exciting the actual racing is.  It hasn't been on TV before.  But I do plan to get to at least one of those races this year in person, and I'll share the pictures when I get back.

Final Lap

I'm a person who appreciates history.  That would also an understatement my British ancestors could be proud of.

I've seen in NASCAR how they paint over the past with their current sponsors.  Seriously, anyone who calls Richard Petty a seven-time Sprint Cup champion just sounds wrong.  Maybe its because cell phones weren't even around when he was filling his trophy room.

So I do appreciate ARCA's history series on their website, ARCAracing.com.  They refer to their series as MARC when that is what it was called back then.

But it goes a little deeper than that, even.  Click on over to Schedule and you get the "2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards Event Information."  But click over to 2009 and you still get the "2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule."  Note that it's not the 2009 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards schedule, because there was no ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards in 2009.

Okay, it's more subtle than Richard Petty and cell phones back in the 1960's.  However subtle the change in wording is (after all, RE/MAX is part of both the old and new series names), the attitude behind it is very different, and I like ARCA's way.

Unless ARCA's webmaster reads this, smacks his or her forehead for forgetting the change, and "fixes" it.

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