Credit ARCA Racing

NASCAR Season Begins with ARCA Racing at Daytona

The 2014 NASCAR Season begins with the ARCA Racing Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Well maybe it is a stretch saying the NASCAR season begins with an ARCA race; especially since NASCAR teams will have already been on the track for practice, but it can be said that NASCAR seasons of the future begin with that same race.

Each and every year the ARCA Racing Series race at Daytona has young new drivers entered in it who are on their way to each of NASCAR’s top series.

Ryan Newman won this race in 2001 on his fast track to the Sprint Cup Series, running an ARCA, Busch and Cup Schedule that year. Kyle Busch won in 2004 in preparation for his move to the Sprint Cup Series.

Last year John Wes Townley won this race while trying to find his way into NASCAR. Kyle Larson who will run his first NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the No. 42 Target Chevy for Ganassi Racing finished second. Darrell Wallace, Jr. (Bubba) was also in this race last year but had a crash early. These are just a sampling of future NASCAR stars that were in the race last year.

Even though many up and coming NASCAR stars are racing in this event they still have to contend with the regular ARCA Racing Series drivers. Each and every year they have to contend with Bobby Gerhart. Gerhart has won a record eight Daytona races including three in a row in 2005-2007 and 2010-2012.

Record Ten time ARCA Series Champion Frank Kimmel will try yet again to win his first Daytona race after being shut out each and every year. If he could win it would be every bit as emotional as when Dale Earnhardt won his Daytona 500.

This year future NASCAR stars Jeb Burton, Chase Elliott, and Dylan Kwasniewski will battle the ARCA veterans. They are trying to get valuable experience prior to starting their new rides this season in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. John Wes Townley will also be back to defend his win from last year.

The Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real at Daytona International Speedway is Saturday, February 15th. If you can’t get to Daytona International Speedway, the race will be shown live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 4 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.