2016 State Fair ARCA Date Announced
(TOLEDO, Ohio – November 10, 2015) – It’s one thing to win an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race. It’s another to win one in front of your hometown fans. A handful of ARCA Racing Series drivers got to experience such a thing in 2015, including A.J. Fike, the winner at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL.
“Springfield’s always a big deal,” said Fike, who hails from Galesburg, IL. “It’s my first ARCA win, and seeing it back on the schedule is definitely good.”
Officials from the ARCA Racing Series, Track Enterprises and the Illinois State Fair have announced today that the ARCA Racing Series will race on the one-mile dirt track on Sunday, Aug. 21. It will be ARCA’s 354th all-time race on dirt. With ARCA’s roots reaching back to 1953, much of the tour’s rich history developed over the decades on dirt tracks across America.
Fike added to that history in August, winning the race at Springfield. Kelly Kovski, a true hometown driver being from Springfield, finished third. In 2014 the two drivers were in contention for a win when they jumped the final restart. Needless to say, it’s an exciting venue for racing.
“Every year when I see it (Springfield) on the schedule, it gets me excited,” Kovski said. “I’m local…my friends and family get all pumped up and rally around it. Springfield always gets a lot of attention. You take these asphalt cars and put ‘em on dirt…it doesn’t get any better.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to race in front of family and friends. And the possibility of putting your name in the record books along with some of the winners there would be the ultimate pay-off. I’d love to be able to give that win to my dad … he’s worked so hard and spends a lot of money on this deal. He’s so dedicated to that race. I think winning it would be bigger for him than me, and it’d be the biggest thing in my career too.”
The on-going legacy of one of America’s oldest state fairs has certainly included a sizeable chunk of auto racing over the years – its tenure dating back more than 70 years to 1934 when Billy Winn won the first-ever championship race event on the mile horse track. Jay Frank was the inaugural 100-lap stock car race winner in 1950.
The race, annually named in honor of Springfield resident Allen Crowe who lost his life in a sprint car crash at New Bremen Speedway, is one of two dirt-track venues on the annual ARCA Racing Series schedule, the other being at the DuQuoin (IL) State Fairgrounds.
Frank Kimmel, the 10-time series champion, is the all-time Springfield winner with eight. NASCAR veteran Kenny Schrader has won a stock car race at Springfield, as has Curtis Turner, Al Unser, A.J. Foyt, Bob Keselowski, Bobby Bowsher, Justin Allgaier and Brennan Poole.
Fike says it is not an easy place to win at.
“There’s a certain skill-set to finessing these heavy ARCA cars around that place,” he said. “Once the track takes rubber, you’re still searching for grip … working the throttle just right so you don’t burn off the right rear (tire) and get all four to hook up. It’s really easy to overdrive, so you really have to manage it carefully all the way. I couldn’t be more excited about seeing Springfield back on ARCA’s schedule.”
A complete schedule of events for the ARCA race at Springfield will be announced later. The race announcement is the 10th event of 2016 announced. The full schedule for the ARCA Racing Series is being announced race by race this month. The complete schedule will be announced by Thanksgiving.