ARCA kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona on SPEED

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 13, 2013) - The off-season may seem like an eternity for race fans, especially for those hungry for big-time stock car racing. And for race fans that just can't wait to tune in, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is strategically positioned as the annual kick-off for Speedweeks at Daytona Int'l Speedway each season.

The 50th annual Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real is live on SPEED Saturday, February 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET. It's the first stock car race of the season on a major-league superspeedway, and a very effective show-opener for NASCAR's Sprint Unlimited, which follows as the main attraction that night.

The annual ARCA event at Daytona marks the 199th all-time SPEED broadcast of an ARCA Racing Series event, and has always been the highest rated ARCA race of the season on SPEED.

ARCA's relations with SPEED reaches back to April 20, 1997, when the network (then called Speedvision) covered the ARCA Racing Series event at Salem Speedway. Since, SPEED has aired 198 ARCA Racing Series events, including the final race of the 2012 season at Kansas Speedway.

The two companies signed an extension of its multi-year contract with an announcement last October. Last year's Daytona race drew a 1.4 rating, meaning 1.4 million homes were tuned in to SPEED to watch Bobby Gerhart claim his record eighth Daytona victory in a wild finish.

ARCA has a long history at Daytona. The series came to Daytona in 1964 at the suggestion of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and has returned every year since. Kyle Petty helped get the event on the map when the third generation driver won the Daytona ARCA 200 in his first-ever stock car start in 1979. Over the years, ARCA wins at Daytona have proven to be effective in launching careers of NASCAR stars like Benny Parsons, Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch, all of whom are ARCA winners at Daytona.

SPEED will broadcast the Lucas Oil 200 live, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The race will re-air at 1 a.m. that night and at noon on Monday, February 18.

Five of the first eight ARCA Racing Series events will be on SPEED this year. The 2013 TV events include races at Daytona, Talladega, Toledo, both races at Pocono, Michigan, Chicagoland, Iowa, Kentucky and the season finale at Kansas. Each ARCA event aired on SPEED in 2013 will be live.

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