(TOLEDO, Ohio) – Daytona International Speedway has been part of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for more than 50 years and the 2015 season won’t be any different.

ARCA Racing Series officials announced today that the series will race at Daytona for the 52nd time on Saturday, February 14, 2015. It will be the ARCA Racing Series season opener.

“As we discuss in the drivers meeting every year, it’s an honor and a privilege to race at Daytona International Speedway, and it carries with it great responsibility and even greater opportunity,” said ARCA President Ron Drager. “Whether you’re an eight-time Daytona winner like Bobby Gerhart, a 10-time ARCA champion like Frank Kimmel or a driver racing at Daytona for the first time, that statement applies.

“Daytona has meant so much to ARCA since 1964, when Bill France Sr. envisioned that ARCA could provide unique inventory to February Speedweeks and carry the Daytona brand into the Midwest region of the country,” Drager continued. “The impact of ARCA racing at Daytona is unequaled over 50-plus years, and it continues to be the longest-running annual race on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The entire ARCA community is very proud and appreciative of the opportunity to race at Daytona.”

The race will serve as the preamble to the same-night NASCAR Sprint Unlimited. NASCAR will have its Sprint Cup qualifying on Sunday, February 15 and the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 22.

“There’s not a better race track in America for the ARCA Racing Series to kick off their season than at Daytona International Speedway,” President Joie Chitwood III said. “The ARCA Series has been competing at the ‘World Center of Racing’ for more than 50 years and we’re looking forward to having the series return in 2015 and kick off the first weekend of Budweiser Speedweeks alongside The Sprint Unlimited At Daytona.”

A full season schedule will be announced later by ARCA officials.

ARCA’s history at Daytona International Speedway began when NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr. asked ARCA founder John Marcum to bring his Midwest-based stock car series south. Nelson Stacy won the first ARCA race at Daytona in 1964. The 2015 race will be the 52nd consecutive season ARCA has raced at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

The list of ARCA winners at Daytona includes Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Benny Parsons, Tim Richmond, Mike Wallace, Joe Ruttman, Andy Hillenburg and Kyle Petty. Lebanon, Pennsylvania’s Bobby Gerhart has the most ARCA starts, front row starts, wins from the pole and wins (eight) at Daytona.

John Wes Townley won the ARCA race in 2013 at Daytona.

“There’s so much history and fanfare revolving around Daytona, making it one of my favorite stops on the ARCA schedule,” Townley said. “It’s truly and honor to race here regardless of the series.”

The defending race winner is Grant Enfinger, racing for Team BCR Racing, who kick-started his six-win 2014 season by winning at Daytona. Mason Mitchell finished seventh in the 2014 Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real, launching his season championship run.

Daytona International Speedway is the home of “The Great American Race” – the DAYTONA 500. Though the season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup event garners most of the attention – as well as the largest audience in motorsports – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe.

In addition to eight major weekends of racing activity, rarely a week goes by that the Speedway grounds are not used for events that include civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training. The track currently is in the midst of its $400 million renovation project. Daytona Rising is a re-imagining of an American icon – Daytona International Speedway. Five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” will lead fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels. Each level features spacious social areas, or “neighborhoods,” along the nearly mile-long front stretch. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. In addition, the Speedway will feature over 60 luxury suites with track side views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests.

The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.

– ARCA Racing Series Press Release

Photo Credit: Speed51.com

ARCA Racing Series to Open 63rd Season at Daytona