DOVER, Del. — Following the purchase of the ARCA Racing Series earlier this year, NASCAR and ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards have developed the initial competition framework that will include the K&N Pro Series beginning with the 2020 season.
While ARCA and the K&N Pro Series will continue to operate as separate entities for the 2019 season, the series will thrive under a new competition framework in 2020 with a model designed to preserve both series‘ historic short-track lineage that stretches back more than 60 years.
The new layout will give drivers the opportunity to compete for a total of four championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, ARCA Racing Elite Series presented by Menards and the brand-new Stock Car Invitational.
Brandon Thompson, managing director of the NASCAR Touring Series, laid out three over-arching goals of this new format for the sanctioning body.
“Underscoring NASCAR‘s commitment to short-track racing is number one,” Thompson told NASCAR.com. “Making sure series veterans — a Bobby Gerhart on the ARCA side or a Ronnie and Dillon Bassett on the K&N side — have a home and we can kind of get back to creating those stables in those series is also very important. And finally we want to continue to highlight our up-and-coming stars in the sport.”
Here is how it will work:
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule will feature six to eight events, competing on historic short tracks (less than 1 mile) within their regional footprint as in years past.
• The new ARCA Racing Elite Series championship calendar will be made up of approximately 20 races, with at least half of those races on speedways (longer than 1 mile), including traditional companion events in both ARCA and Pro Series.
• The Stock Car Invitational will be made up of the remaining 10 races of the ARCA Elite Series, on premier short tracks. In order to be eligible for the three-way combination series, East and West competitors must compete in a minimum number of races across those series — the exact number will be announced at a later date.
Thompson believes the most important element is the opportunity for the next fleet of young drivers to go head-to-head with seasoned veterans on the same playing field with the Stock Car Invitational.
“That‘s the part that excites me the most — the opportunity to get those young stars against some of these seasoned veterans and have them all out there at the same time,” he said. “It‘s a good natural progression from racing among your peers, so to speak, to going against some wily vets, which is what they‘re going to see in the Truck Series. It‘s another ode to that developmental ladder and this being a key rung in that ladder.”
For the on-track product, the chassis and body will be roughly the same across all four championship series. Teams electing to complete in the Elite Series will run the current ARCA engine package, while teams competing in the Pro Series East and West will run the existing package for those series as well.
Teams participating in the Stock Car Invitational championship are required to race the same engine they used in either the Elite Series or the Pro Series East/West.
“It will be a meet-in-the-middle for the most part,” Thompson said. “Where there‘s not a situation where you can exactly meet halfway, I think you‘ll see us take what we all know and discussed as best practices from either one and implement that to take us forward.”
Drivers competing in the Pro Series East, Pro Series West and Stock Car Invitational must be at least 15 years old, while drivers must be at least 18 years old to compete in the Elite Series.
Other details, including exact venues on the race schedule, series name and television coverage will continue to be finalized over the coming months.