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ARCA To Make 93rd Appearance At Salem Speedway April 27-28
Posted by: newsla on Mar 27, 2013 - 05:25 PM
ARCA To Make 93rd Appearance At Salem Speedway April 27-28

In the picture for seven decades and counting, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has become part of the culture in the quiet little southern Indiana town of Salem. That's because, since 1955, the 61-year-old tour has been taking to the high-banks of Salem Speedway with a rock 'em, sock 'em style of stock car racing that continues to resonate with race fans in a major-league way.


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In fact, the 93rd appearance of the ARCA Racing Series at Salem is on the way with a two-day show April 27 and 28. Tickets are indeed on sale for the annual Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200, and race teams are already making preparations.

For many, preparations equate to a trip to Salem in advance of the race for testing. Some of the teams expected to test include Kimmel Racing in early April. While the team's main driver, Will Kimmel, will be on hand for the test to shake the cars down, the team's focus will be on newcomers Michael Lira and Travis Swaim.

Lira, from Port Orange, Fla., is just 15 years old and will sit in an ARCA car at Salem for the very first time.

"Hopefully, Salem will be the first of a number of tests for Michael this year," said the team patriarch and eight-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Bill Kimmel.

"We want him to be comfortable in the car. When we feel he's ready, and based on the approval process at ARCA, we'll schedule him in for a race."

Lira is the son of Carlos Lira, who is the Dealer Principal at Gary Yeomans Ford in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gary Yeomans Ford is an associate sponsor at Kimmel Racing, and was on the quarter panels of Will's No. 68 Ford at Daytona.

"We're not sure if Salem will be his first race or not. We'll be the only team testing (at Salem) on this particular day, and that's the way we want it. Salem is challenging enough, even for the most experienced racers. We don't want to create a pressure situation for Michael at Salem. We want him to progress at his own pace, and let him get comfortable on his own terms."

Swaim is also slotted in to test alongside Lira for Kimmel Racing at Salem.

"Travis has quite a bit more experience than Michael, and we plan to debut him at Salem in the race," Kimmel said. "But Salem will be a new animal for both. It's a tough track, and typically takes a little while to get used to."

While Swaim has no Salem seat-time, he's certainly no stranger to the cockpit, earning the UARA late model championship in 2012. Swaim, from High Point, N.C., is the younger brother of Mike Swaim, Jr., who won an ARCA race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1998. Mike made 34 career ARCA starts between 1996 and 2001, posting 12 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes, including second place finishes at Pocono Raceway and Gateway Int'l Raceway.

Venturini Motorsports is also planning to test at Salem, and in full force. The longtime ARCA team, in its 31st season of ARCA competition, is testing full-timers Justin Boston and Milka Duno, as well as newcomer Kyle Benjamin. Benjamin, 15, continues to keep his name in the news, winning four consecutive late model races at New Smyrna Speedway in February, and the Rattler 250 in March. Benjamin also finished second in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Mobile Int'l Speedway in early March. The fourth Venturini Motorsports entry at Salem is ARCA/NASCAR veteran driver John Wes Townley, who opened the season with a victory in the Daytona ARCA 200 in the No. 15 Zaxby's Toyota.

Win Tron Racing, with current point leader Mason Mingus, is also expected to test, as well as defending championship team Roulo Brothers Racing with rookie Mason Mitchell behind the wheel. Mingus is currently tied in championship points with nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel, with Mitchell trailing in third. Cunningham Motorsports, with driver Tom Hessert (fourth in points) is also expected to test.

Practice for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 is Saturday, April 27 from 12 noon - 12:45 p.m., with final practice from 1:15 - 2. Menards Pole Award Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled to follow at 3:30. Pre-race festivities and driver introductions get underway just before 2 on Sunday afternoon (April 28) with the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 slated to get the green flag at approximately 2:15.

Frank Kimmel is the all-time ARCA winner at Salem with nine wins between 1998 and 2008. Other Salem ARCA winners over the years reads like a who's who in motorsports, a list that includes Indy 500 winner Troy Ruttman, NASCAR champions Bobby Allison and Benny Parsons, ARCA champions Nelson Stacy, Jack Bowsher, Benny Parsons, Iggy Katona, Ramo Stott, Tim Steele, Justin Allgaier and Chris Buescher, as well as Bob Schacht, Ken Schrader, Brian Keselowski, and Alex Bowman.
Jack Harrison, in a Ford, won the first-ever ARCA race at Salem on October 9, 1955. Harrison, who was afflicted with stomach ulcers, drank milk continuously to ease his ailment.

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