NASCAR Racing Begins with ARCA Racing in More Ways Than One

The seemingly long off season for Stock Car racing is almost over. The season actually begins with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards opening at Daytona International Speedway. The  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with open with their exhibition race The Clash at Daytona several hours later. But in some ways NASCAR Cup racing begins with ARCA racing.

In years past many future Monster Energy NASCAR Cup stars got their start in the ARCA Racing Series. Ryan Newman won this race in 2001, Kyle Busch in 2004 and James Buescher in 2009 but many others got important experience by racing this race and in this series.

In 2014, Cup driver Chase Elliott started fifth and finished ninth in this race. Daniel Suarez was also in this race started third and finished fifth. Suarez was also in the race in 2015 starting sixth and finishing second.

Last year we had some future NASCAR stars in this race; NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers Cole Custer (10th) and William Byron (2nd), also NASCAR Camping World Truck driver Chase Briscoe (4th). Camping World Truck driver Grant Enfinger won this race in 2014 and 2015.

This year we have Xfinity Driver Matt Tifft in this race.  20 year old Tifft was a NASCAR Next driver in 2016.  17 year old Riley Herbst driving full time in the ARCA series for Joe Gibbs Racing will also be a rising star to watch.

John Wes Townley won this race last year and retired from all racing at the end of the season.

As always though these big money NASCAR teams will have to contend with the ARCA regulars like eight time winner of this race Bobby Gerhart in his legendary No. 5 Lucas Oil Machine.

If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards; Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire it will be shown on Fox Sports 1 on February 18th at 4 PM ET.

Feature Photo Credit ARCA Racing

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

In NASCAR it is all about Rules, Embrace them!

As we enter the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series there are a lot of rules changes. Many will think that this series is totally different than it was in 2016. The biggest change is how points are awarded and carried into the Chase for the Cup. The other change is the running of races in segments and awarding points for leading those segments. Gone are points for leading a lap. If you are not up to speed with these changes read these from Dustin Long at NBC.

If you have watched NASCAR for a while you know that Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus are the gold standard to using the NASCAR rule book to their advantage. They have embraced the Chase format and taken advantage of it like no other team.

In football there is a reason there are 4 downs, a two minute warning, half time and each team has a limited amount of time outs. It is all about controlling TV time and the commercials that pay for it and keeping the fans attention. Whether you like it or not, Brian France has made these changes to balance the whole viewing experience.

People for years have argued that too many green flag laps were lost during commercials. Many have also criticized the sometimes monotonous green flag laps of single file racing that occurs at the larger tracks. Another criticism is that since some races are very long it appears that many drivers are just biding their time waiting for “Go Time” to actually race. Whether that is true or not only they know but some people think that.

Last year’s big change was the addition of a Caution Clock in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Yes it impacted racing but did it kill it. I think because it was apparent they were on the clock it made the racing better and didn’t detract from it. All in all it made the experience better.

Two years ago I was at Daytona for the 500. Approximately 1/3 of the way in I had to use the facilities and couldn’t wait for a caution flag. While I was behind the stands in the relative quiet I talked with some people and had a cocktail for ten minutes. If you know Daytona I missed perhaps 10 laps. It was refreshing to take a break, take the head phones off and chill. Why I never did that in 16 years of going to races I don’t know.

I’m looking at these segments as just that. A time to reflect on what’s happened, perhaps chat with friends you are with about it; charge back up and enjoy the race. Embrace the Change, you may just like it!

Feature Photo Credit: 305378 Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.