RainEater Wiper Blades 200 at Michigan
Takes ARCA Racing Series to Home Superspeedway for 30th Time
(TOLEDO, Ohio) – The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will make its 30th appearance at its home superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, in Friday’s RainEater Wiper Blades 200.
The 100-lap, 200-mile RainEater Wiper Blades 200 will air live on SPEED at 5 p.m. Friday, and ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage from the race.
The two-mile MIS oval, located in Brooklyn, is situated less than 50 miles away from ARCA’s home office in Temperance, Mich., and holds a key spot on the annual schedule.
“We have always considered MIS our hometown superspeedway. It’s a special place for us, with our history there since 1980 and it being an ISC-owned track,” said ARCA president Ron Drager, noting his family’s connection to the ISC-operating France family.
“Our drivers really look forward to racing at MIS since it’s such a competitive track and it’s close to home for many of our Midwest-based teams. The administration and staff at MIS have always been solidly supportive in promoting the series, and our teams and drivers appreciate that.”
The race – the eighth of 19 on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series schedule – is the second event in the pursuit of the Bill France Four Crown. The award, depictive of the series’ versatility, is a separate point fund that tests drivers on four very different tracks. This year’s Bill France Four Crown includes events in four different months on the calendar. Competition for the celebrated prize began in May at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where Andrew Ranger scored a road course triumph.
Filling out the Four Crown schedule will be the August 21 dirt mile race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and the September 17 short track showdown at Salem Speedway in Indiana.
Additionally, the RainEater Wiper Blades 200 is the last of a string of three consecutive speedway events which will play a significant role in the 2011 Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge. The Challenge consists of seven races (Daytona, Talladega, Chicagoland, Pocono, Michigan, Pocono, Kansas).
Chris Buescher (No. 17 David Ragan Fan Club Ford) currently leads overall series points leader Ty Dillon (No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) atop the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings. Each driver will make his Michigan debut.
“Michigan is not really my expertise yet, but we’re going to try it here,” said Buescher, who has finished second three times this season and is currently fourth in overall series points. “Hopefully, it’ll go good. We’ve got a fast car. We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be (in the May 25 test), but we should be okay come race time.”
Dillon has three wins in 2011, including two on larger speedways. He won at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway in April, the half-mile Toledo Speedway in May, and the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway in June.
“It’s my first time going to Michigan International Speedway,” said Dillon. “It’s really exciting. It’s a really fast track; you go, like, 200 miles per hour off into the corner. It’s a little flatter than other places I’ve been.”
Tim George Jr. (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) is the most recent first-time winner in the ARCA Racing Series, having passed Grant Enfinger (No. 36 Hoosier Tire Midwest/RaceTires.com Dodge) Saturday at Pocono Raceway just before fog settled in and forced ARCA officials to call the 80-lap race after just 59 laps. George finished eighth at Michigan last season.
“Michigan’s a good spot,” George said. “This is the place where I had my first good intermediate finish, and that’s been my hardest part of the learning curve, to figure out the intermediate tracks. I like this place. I had a good finish here last year and obviously, all the GM and Chevy people are here, so you always want to do well in front of the home bases.”
Buescher, Dillon, and George all tested in the ARCA Racing Series’ open test at Michigan on May 25, but none of them were as fast as Max Gresham (No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota), who led the session with a best lap of 38.724 seconds (185.931 mph).
“I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think we can win the race,” Gresham said. “When we did the ARCA test at Michigan, we were at the top of the speed charts. Hopefully, that will carry over and we can walk away with my first superspeedway win.”
In addition to his test speed, Gresham enters the race with another advantage. His Venturini Motorsports team is the defending winner at Michigan, having helped Mikey Kile to Victory Lane last June. Having just turned 18, Gresham’s Michigan start will also be his first. He claims to have gained valuable knowledge about the track and its wide, multiple grooves in the open test.
“Michigan is so much fun,” he said. “You can drive off into the corner as deep as you want to go. The biggest thing is to make sure the car doesn’t get tight over a long run. You have to keep the car loose enough at the start of the race, free enough at the end of the race. The car that can do that is going to be the car that will win the race.”
On an entry list featuring 41 cars, there’s one man who definitely knows what it takes to win at Michigan, and that’s Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford). Currently second to Dillon in series points, Kimmel won at Michigan in 1998 and 2005. A third victory will seat him next to Jeff Purvis and Tim Steele, ARCA’s all-time leading winners at Michigan with three wins apiece.
Practice begins at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, and will last for 90 minutes. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell begins at 10 a.m. Friday, and the 100-lap, 200-mile race will air live on SPEED at 5 p.m. ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage of all events.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards features 19 events at 16 tracks on its 2011 schedule. The series has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.