TOLEDO, Ohio — After a 23-year pause, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is preparing to push “play” for the third consecutive season at tradition-rich Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. The Music City 200 presented by Azure Foundation, part of a stock car double-header, is coming Saturday, April 7-8.
The 200-lap ARCA national tour finale Saturday night will be preceded by a combined ARCA/CRA Super Series-Southern Super Series North-South Challenge to set the stage.
The second event of the season for the ARCA Racing Series, on the heels of Daytona, will mark the 26th ARCA appearance at Nashville since its debut on the historic short track in 1959 when three-time ARCA champion Nelson Stacy won the inaugural 300-lap race.
Current ARCA Racing Series point leader Austin Theriault hopes to add his name to the impressive list of ARCA winners at Nashville, and he’s off to a great start. The Fort Kent, Maine driver opened the season with a victory at Daytona Int’l Speedway. He’ll now look toward Nashville for what would be his career-first ARCA short track triumph.
Theriault, who drives for Ken Schrader Racing, has just three ARCA starts, but he’s won two of the three and finished fourth in the other. His three previous starts have all come in the older steel-bodied cars; however, Nashville will mark his first start in the new composite bodied car.
“I’ve had three races in the older type body car, but I’ve never raced the composite car. That could be a potential advantage or maybe a disadvantage…I’m not really sure,” said Theriault.
“I’m not worried about it. The team at Ken Schrader Racing has raced it enough that it doesn’t matter that I haven’t. I love the way the new cars look…much closer to a production model. I’m really looking forward to Nashville…it’s what ARCA’s all about.”
ARCA Nashville Fairgrounds Roots go back to 1959
Three-time ARCA national champion Nelson Stacy was ARCA’s inaugural winner at Nashville in 1959. Other notable race winners/champions at Nashville include Jack Bowsher (ARCA champion), Don White (USAC Stock Car champion), Harold Smith (ARCA champion), Ramo Stott (ARCA champion), Moose Myers (ARCA champion), Marvin Smith (ARCA champion), David Green (NASCAR Xfinity champion) and most recently 2015 ARCA champion Grant Enfinger and Josh Williams who won last year’s ARCA 200. Other ARCA winners at Nashville include Andy Hampton, Red Farmer and Coo Coo Marlin, all of whom were track champions in their own locales. Nineteen-time ARCA winner Bob Schacht won three consecutive at Nashville in 1981, ’82 and ’83.
Nashville Fairgrounds History
While racing began at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as early as 1904, the track which evolved into the current day Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville held its first race in 1958. The track was also home to 42 NASCAR Sprint Cup races from 1958-1984 with Richard Petty leading all drivers with nine wins followed by Darrell Waltrip with eight. Other Cup winners include Joe Weatherly, David Pearson, Bobby Isaac, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, Benny Parsons and Dale Earnhardt. The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced there nine times from 1984-2000, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series held five races from 1996-2000.
This year’s Music City 200 will also include the North-South Challenge 100 with the Southern Super Series and the ARCA CRA Super Series combo race. Last year, CRA got added to the Super Late Model mix to create the North-South shootout. The field saw a jump to 35 cars featuring some of the best short track racers in the country, with Donnie Wilson winning the top prize over Steven Wallace.
Super Late Models have a practice session Friday night, April 7 from 4-7 p.m. Then on Saturday, April 8, North-South Shootout practice will begin at 12 noon, with North-South Shootout qualifying at 3. General Tire Pole Qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series is at 4:15, with racing action following at 5:45 with the North-South Shootout presented by Team Construction 100. Race fans will be treated to the ARCA Racing Series Music City 200 grand finale at 8. The Music City 200 will be aired on MAVTV.
Discounted presale tickets for the event are available for $25, a $5 discount off raceday ticket prices. They are available by calling the event promoters Track Enterprises at 615-470-5214 or 217-764-3200.
-ARCA Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com