Dodge information courtesy Robert Gardetto (MoparBob) and Jennifer Harrington
In 1953, the Midwest Association for Race Cars (MARC) was founded by John Marcum after he worked as a NASCAR race official; he had raced open-wheel roadsters against Bill France Sr., NASCAR founder, in the 1940s. The MARC series was a regional stock-car racing series, covering Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
In 1964, France asked Marcum if he would like for ARCA to be a part of the Daytona Speedweeks. The group’s name was accordingly changed to the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).
During the 1970s, after Chrysler had left NASCAR, non-factory Chrysler teams continued competing in ARCA. Dodge Daytonas and Plymouth Superbirds were raced in the series during the 1970s; Ramo Stott won the championship in 1970. Two championships in the 1970s were claimed by Plymouth.
When Chrysler returned to ARCA racing in 1989, it was not making any V8-powered or rear wheel drive cars, having converted entirely to front wheel drive. Thus, when they returned to racing, they used a racing engine based on the “LA” series (still in production in 318 and 360 cubic inch sizes), built by Arrow Racing Engines. The 355-cubic-inch V8 engines were reliable and powerful, with the original setup having W-2 or W-5 Mopar heads, Diamond pistons, Keith Black crankshaft, and a modified Holley carburetor. (See our ARCA LeBaron page for more details.)
During the early 1990s, drivers such as Bob Keselowski, Ron Otto, and Jerry Churchill raced Chrysler LeBarons; Bob Keselowski was particularly successful. Next, Robbie Pyle and Roger Blackstock drove Dodge Avenger-bodied race cars, powered by the 355 V8, in the later 1990s. They later switched to Dodge Intrepids.
Today, ARCA and NASCAR still maintain a relationship, scheduling events at the same tracks – like Daytona, Talladega, and Charlotte – on the same weekends. ARCA also continues to hold races at smaller track venues, including Salem Speedway (Indiana) and Berlin Speedway (Michigan). Ron Drager is now president of the organization. (See our exclusive interview with Dodge ARCA drivers Tom Hessert and Austin Wayne Self)
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