“That was a 90 lap run to the finish,” Braden said, recalling his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start at Lucas Oil Raceway last July. “That’s kind of unheard of. You just assumed there was going to be a caution.”
Braden’s victory at the Brownsburg, Ind. short track was one of many memorable moments during the ARCA Racing Series’ 2015 campaign. And, in 2016, Lucas Oil Raceway will have a shot at making more memories as officials from the ARCA Racing Series and Track Enterprises announced today that ARCA will race at the .686-mile track on Friday, July 22, 2016.
“It’s a great track,” Braden said. “I love the place. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to make my ARCA debut there. I probably have as much seat time at Lucas Oil than any other driver who would have been in the field. The track changes so much from the day to night. That’s one of the things I love about it.”
Braden was making his first ARCA Racing Series start when he employed a totally different pit strategy than the rest of the field. His crew chief called him in for four fresh tires at a time when nearly all of the other contenders put on only two with the intention of using the other four during a late-race caution. The caution never came.
“Every time I thought about it, every way I thought about it, we weren’t going to win the race because there was going to be a caution,” Braden said. “We were so far behind the leaders. But, slowly, we started reeling in the leader, William Byron. But, still, I wasn’t so much racing him as I was just racing the track, trying to save my tires because I figured at some point, everyone else was going to have newer tires than us.”
Braden became one of 10 first-time winners on the series tour and one of only handful of drivers to ever win in their first-ever ARCA start.
Lucas Oil Raceway has a long history with ARCA, hosting a dozen races over the past 44 years. Two-time ARCA Racing Series champion Ramo Stott won the inaugural ARCA race at Lucas Oil Raceway in 1971. Ralph Latham followed as victor in 1972, and Bruce Gould was the winner in 1974. Nearly 10 years would go by before ARCA would return in 1983 when two-time series champ Marvin Smith was the race winner. Bob Schacht won in 1984. In 1985, two ARCA races were on the schedule with Schacht and Davey Allison claiming victories.
It would be 26 years before the ARCA tour would return to Lucas Oil Raceway in 2011 when Ty Dillon, driving for Richard Childress Racing, won the 200-lap event. Frank Kimmel won in 2012. Brandon Jones won in 2014 at Lucas Oil Raceway, and then Braden followed that with his win.
“I’ve probably watched that race 30 or 40 times since then,” Braden said.
The race-day schedule for the ARCA Racing Series’ event at Lucas Oil Raceway will be announced at a later date. It will be part of a wide array of stock car racing in the Indianapolis area the same weekend.
The July 22 race is the 16th race to be announced on the 2016 ARCA Racing Series schedule. Additional race announcements are coming in the next few days, leading to a full schedule to be released before the Thanksgiving holiday next week.
|2016 ARCA SCHEDULE*|