(MILLVILLE, N.J. - June 29, 2012) - No driver in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards history has won more than one race on a road course, but that should come as no surprise. This weekend's 150-mile event at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway is just the 16th road event in 60 years for ARCA's top tour.
If anyone is to earn multiple road course trophies in ARCA competition, Andrew Ranger might be the man to do it. Ranger, of Roxton Pond, Quebec, won last season in New Jersey and returns just over 13 months later with the same team.
ARCA competition on road courses debuted in 1958, the sanction's sixth season.
"The ARCA Racing Series has long been recognized for the diversity in the types of venues on the schedule," said ARCA president and CEO Ron Drager. "Having road courses on the schedule, in the form of New Jersey Motorsports Park, truly rounds out the full range of venues to include paved short tracks, superspeedways, concrete surface intermediate tracks, and the mile dirt state fairgrounds ovals."
Fred Lorenzen won the inaugural 220-mile road course event at Meadowdale Raceway in Illinois on October 19, 1958.
Two more events at Meadowdale would follow on August 14, 1960 when Nelson Stacy, from the pole, steered his way into Victory Lane in the 250-mile race. On July 19, 1964, Elmer Musgrave won a 250-mile race.
Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Va. hosted ARCA on April 1, 1962, as the late Curtis Turner prevailed as another ARCA road course winner in the 250-mile road course grind.
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course showed up on the schedule in 1965 with three-time series champion Jack Bowsher winning in the 250-mile race on July 25.
It would not be until May 18, 1986 before another road course event made its way onto the schedule at the now-defunct St. Louis International Raceway in Madison, Ill. Bob Schacht won the 200-lap race, where there were 13 lead changes among four drivers: Schacht and ARCA champions Bill Venturini, Lee Raymond, and Bob Keselowski.
Two events were staged at the Heartland Park road course in Topeka, Kan. in the early 1990s. Ken Schrader, from the pole, won the Wendy's Big Classic 100 on August 5, 1991. Eight-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart finished fourth with Frank Kimmel, making his road course debut, finishing seventh. Dale Earnhardt, making a rare ARCA appearance, finished 30th after an accident on Lap 14 eliminated him from contention.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip won in the second event at Heartland Park, held on August 2, 1992.
The Des Moines Grand Prix was the next road course event on the schedule on July 3, 1994. Scott Lagasse held off Kimmel and Jimmy Spencer to win the 75-lap race through the downtown streets of Des Moines. Former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville finished ninth. Michael Waltrip finished 14th.
Seven years elapsed before the series got back to its road course roots at Watkins Glen International, where on July 7, 2001, John Finger won a thriller over Blaise Alexander, Kimmel, Robert Burroughs, and Art Cross.
Another seven years passed before yet another road course appeared on the ARCA schedule at the brand new New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J. On September 28, 2008, Justin Allgaier - who would go on to win the championship that year - won the rain-shortened 150-mile race over Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Tayler Malsam, Andy Lally, and Brian Scott.
The ARCA Racing Series returned to New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2009 and staged one of the most thrilling road course events ever witnessed on September 13. Eventual race winner Patrick Long fought off a side-by-side battle with Penske Racing's Parker Kligerman on the last lap while road course ace Spencer Pumpelly and Robb Brent battled door-to-door on the final circuit for third place. At the final stripe, Long held off Kligerman by 0.311 second to score the win.
In addition to returning to New Jersey in 2010, the series added another road course event that year at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla., marking the first time in series history that two road courses appeared on the schedule in the same season. Justin Marks made ARCA history at Palm Beach on February 27, winning the rain-shortened Tire Kingdom 150 presented by ModSpace. Marks earned his first career ARCA Racing Series victory utilizing rain tires provided by Hoosier Racing Tire, the first time ARCA has used a "wet" tire compound in its long history.
Young Casey Roderick, driving for Bill Elliott Racing, was the victor in the 150-mile road course event at New Jersey on August 15, 2010. Ranger withstood a late door-to-door battle with George Miedecke to win at New Jersey on May 22, 2011.
ARCA Racing Series teams will practice twice Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway. Practices are scheduled from 11:20 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and 1:40 to 2:40 on Saturday, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 4:30.
The 67-lap, 150-mile race - the fifth for ARCA on the New Jersey course - will start at 1 p.m. Sunday, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by the ARCA Racing Network available at ARCARacing.com. The ARCA event is one of several races scheduled over New Jersey's All-American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation.