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Thanks to Robert Gardetto (MoparBob) and Jennifer Harrington
In 1953, John Marcum created the Midwest Association for Race Cars (MARC). A former NASCAR official, Marcum had raced open-wheel roadsters against NASCAR creator Bill France Sr. in the 1940s.
In 1964, France asked Marcum if he would like his series to be a part of the Daytona Speedweeks. The group’s name was accordingly changed from MARC to the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).
Dodge Daytonas and Plymouth Superbirds were raced in ARCA during the 1970s; Plymouth claimed two championships in the 1970s.
When Chrysler officially returned to ARCA racing in 1989, they developed a racing engine based on the trucks’ 318/360 cid “LA” series V8s. The 355-cubic-inch engines, built by Arrow Racing 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.
ARCA and NASCAR still schedule events at the same tracks, such as Daytona, Talladega, and Charlotte, on the same weekends. ARCA also holds races at smaller tracks. (See our exclusive interview with Dodge ARCA drivers Tom Hessert and Austin Wayne Self)
Chrysler 1904-2018 •
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