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10/08 2018

NASCAR REVEALS INITIAL FRAMEWORK FOR NEW ARCA-K&N PRO SERIES MODEL IN 2020

 

The 2020 NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA seasons will end with a combined champion and the creation of a new sub-division.PHOTO BY NASCAR

The first season will end with a combined champion from both tours

BY:  MATT WEAVER

The future of the ARCA Racing Series came into focus over the weekend at Dover International Speedway.

It was first revealed in April that NASCAR had purchased the second-tier stock car series with the eventual goal of integrating it into a system that already contains the K&N Pro Series East and West divisions.

The changes to that system will not become apparent until the 2020 season, at which point NASCAR will begin to initiate a type of loose merger between the two tours. The new layout will give teams the opportunity to compete in a total of four championships between K&N Pro Series East, K&N Pro Series West, ARCA Racing Elite and a brand-new Stock Car Invitational.

Speaking to NASCAR.com, NASCAR managing director Brandon Thompson said the new structure is designed to equally emphasize veteran drivers and the rising teenaged top prospects.

“Underscoring NASCAR’s commitment to short-track racing is number one,” Thompson said. “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’s how the new ladder system will be structured:

  • 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.

In other words, the final 10 races of the ARCA Elite Series will also contain a championship within a championship in the form of the Stock Car Invitational that features both ARCA and K&N drivers racing for a combined short track championship.

“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,” Thompson 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 at least 2020, ARCA and K&N will continue to have their own distinctive engine packages. For the Stock Car Invitational events, teams will have to use the respective engines of their home tour, something NASCAR will have to work on to ensure parity.

“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 ARCA 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.