Is the new era working?

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ARCA breaks down the incredible stats brought about by its switch to Ilmor engines and Five Star composites bodies after 50 races in the format

Ilmor, Ken Schrader Racing, Ken Schrader, ARCA, composite body

Opinions vary but numbers don’t lie. And since the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine and Five Star composite bodies were introduced in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards in 2015, the numbers tell an interesting story.

Stretching from Daytona 2015 through the first half of 2017, after 50 races, there have been 21 first-time race winners and 33 different winners.

“Our goal with the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine and Five Star composite body initiatives we debuted in 2015 was to develop a package that would address cost containment and improve on-track competition,” said ARCA President Ron Drager.

Check…on the “improve on-track competition” part.

Further, there have been 24 different General Tire pole winners. Keep in mind, qualifying had 14 cancellations over the last 50 events, mostly for rain.

“We are fortunate to have great partners,” added Drager. “Paul Ray and his team at Ilmor Engineering worked tirelessly on the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine. Carl Schultz and his team at Five Star Bodies along with NASCAR, and their considerable resources and relationships with the auto manufacturers, were tremendous to work with on the Five Star composite body. What really put the project over the top, though, was the investment of the ARCA Series team owners. They believed in the concept, and we couldn’t be more pleased that they are realizing the benefits of their investment.”

Ken Schrader Racing has invested fully in both programs.

Ken Schrader Racing, Ken Schrader, ARCA, composite body

Ken Schrader, owner, Ken Schrader Racing

“We’re still in business with a fulltime race team because of the Ilmor engines and composite bodies,” said Ken Schrader, the current ARCA car owner championship leader. “For Ken Schrader Racing, it’s been a tremendous savings. We saw the help with the engine right off the bat. With the Five Star composite body, you don’t necessarily see it when you’re building the car, but you see it when you start racing it every week.”



Check…on the “address cost containment” part.

It’s also safe to say the aforementioned programs are here to stay.

“In 2018, starting at Daytona in February and through the championship race at Kansas in October, a team will be able to run the same ARCA Ilmor 396 engine and same Five Star Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry body at all 20 races on the series,” Drager continued. “And the statistics tell us the package has worked, in terms of first-time and different race winners, aero equality among body styles, performance equality among ARCA Ilmor 396 engines-both new and rebuilt-and overall quality of the on-track product.”

Since the debut of the composite bodies at Nashville in 2015, the state of the art, flange-fit bodies have won 29 of 38 eligible events. The ARCA Ilmor 396 engine is batting 100% in the win column with 50 wins in 50 races.

Ken Schrader Racing, Ken Schrader, ARCA, composite body

In wrapping up the second year of the partnership, Ilmor delivered the 100th engine at the 2016 Performance Racing Industry show. In the 50 races run since the inception, 36 out of the 107 engines in circulation have won at least one ARCA race.

With 10 of 20 races in the books in 2017, there have seven different winners this year: Austin Theriault, Chad Finley, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones. Theriault and Sargeant, one-two in the championship standings, are the only repeat winners.

The next event for the ARCA Racing Series is the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 coming to Lucas Oil Raceway Friday, July 21. The race marks the 13th ARCA appearance at Lucas Oil since its debut there in 1971.

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About Author


John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive portfolio. Prior to joining the company, John worked for leading automotive design website, Car Design News. Currently editor of Engine Technology International, Professional MotorSport World, Professional MotorSport Circuit, and Transmission Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web and social media content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as chairman of the annual Professional MotorSport World Awards.

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