INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – official series release – ARCA photo —
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards announced some changes to its point system and qualifying procedure Friday, changes that will take effect beginning with the 2015 season opener at Daytona International Speedway February 14.
“We are looking at our 63rd season of racing,” ARCA President Ron Drager said. “And, one of the things we pride ourselves on is staying on top of what we need to do to be around another 63 years.”
Drager announced several “tweaks” for the ARCA Racing Series in 2015 during the annual ARCA press conference at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show.
One of the changes for 2015 will be to the points system. ARCA will now award five bonus points for winning a race. In addition, the qualifying points will be changed to award only a five-point bonus to the pole winner. Previously, the top three qualifiers earned points.
“We are going give an extra five points for a victory and tweak the qualifying point system to award five points for a pole and that will be the only bonuses there,” Drager said. “We think this will tighten up the championship. And, we are certainly not going to any kind of format change. We’re still going to issue points for every race just like we always have.”
A change was also made to the series’ qualifying rules for 2015. If qualifying is rained out and a practice session was completed, ARCA will set the 2015 race lineup by the practice speeds, not owner points. Provisional spots will still be awarded when necessary.
“When we get to a race event and we get a practice session in and then we lose our qualifying over a rainout, we’re going to set the qualifying field by practice speeds as opposed to points,” Drager said.
ARCA will also extend the free pass under caution all the way through to the checkered flag. Previously, the free pass was not awarded to a driver in the last 10 laps of a race.
“We’re going to put that all the way through the end of the race,” Drager said.
Drager also updated those in attendance on the ARCA Ilmor 396 and the new Five Star Race Car bodies that will be introduced in the series in 2015 and went over some recent sponsor announcements made by ARCA, Holley and Valvoline.
The engine, he said, will make its public debut next week at the ARCA open test at Daytona International Speedway, Dec. 19-20.
“The top 10 team owners, every one of them, have invested in an Ilmor engine,” he said. “We are really pleased with the buy-in we’ve gotten from the series.”
Also new in 2015 will be the introduction of a new short track challenge, a championship points standings for drivers and owners at tracks a mile and less, plus road courses. The series has long had the Hoosier Superspeedway Challenge, a similar series within the overall series point system.
“One of the things it does is take a driver who is 16- or 17-years-old, not eligible to race at superspeedways, and allows that driver to participate in the series and run for a little championship within the series,” Drager said.
The 2015 season begins in February and will span eight months, 12 states and 17 different tracks. Drager said the series remains strong.
“The series is as competitive as it’s ever been,” he said.