Race Weekend Central

What We Know About 2024 ARCA Schedules

In almost four months, the 2024 ARCA Menards Series season will begin at Daytona International Speedway, per the racetrack website, on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Furthermore, four ARCA races have been announced by the series itself, at Iowa Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, the Illinois State Fairgrounds and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.

Add in Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Michigan International Speedway, the Milwaukee Mile, Phoenix Raceway and Watkins Glen International announcing their 2024 ARCA race dates on their websites and there are 13 racetracks with 14 known races as Kansas will again host two races.

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The 2024 ARCA series schedules will remain very similar to the 2023 schedules, albeit with some date changes, such as Watkins Glen moving from August to September.

The 2024 national series will have 20 races, the ARCA Menards Series East will have eight races and the ARCA Menards Series West will have 12 races, ARCA President Ron Drager confirmed to Frontstretch.

As for TV, the live coverage of ARCA races will remain the same, with the national races on either FOX Sports 1 or 2 and the other two series’ standalone races on FloRacing.

There are possible changes though.

In the national series, the return of Pocono Raceway is up in the air. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will race on that Friday afternoon, usually the day ARCA races at The Tricky Triangle.

“There’s no agreement currently with Pocono,” Drager said. “Both Pocono and ARCA, we have been working hard to find an entitlement sponsor that’ll support that event. That’s going to be the key to renewing that agreement.”

There are options for Thursday or Friday afternoon, with the Thursday race date the favorite if indeed ARCA returns to Pocono. Pocono has hosted ARCA 70 times, more than the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series combined there.

Pocono does not have lights and given Pocono’s geographic location, poor weather must be considered.

If ARCA does not go to Pocono, Dover Motor Speedway would host the series in a combination race featuring the national division and East, ARCA Menards Series East and West series director Chris Wright confirmed to Frontstretch.

Regardless of whether ARCA returns to Pocono in 2024, Dover will host the East series. Dover has 33 East races, dating back to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East days. The 1-mile racetrack has never hosted the national division before.

Otherwise, expect all other racetracks on the East and the main series from the 2023 schedule to return in 2024.

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At this time last year, Salem Speedway was rumored to be dropped from the ARCA schedule. The Indiana short track has hosted ARCA a whopping 109 times, but 2019 was the last year in which there were 20 drivers in the field. Even worse, the last time there were at least 25 drivers competing there was in 2016. The 0.555-mile racetrack has truly lost some luster.

“I think part of that is attributable to car count,” Drager agreed. “Cars bring people, it interests them. So we know that’s one way we can help make things better. We also feel like we must find a balance between acknowledging and embracing the history of the series and being relevant today. So doing a better job with social media, digital and our messaging and conveying what we have going on.”

While one option could be to make Salem a combination race with the East series, Drager really likes the 50/50 split between East standalone races and combination races with the main series in 2023.

Drager is optimistic Salem owner Nick Bohanon and General Manager Glen Luckett, who previously co-owned the super late model Champions Racing Association, can work well with Track Enterprises, the promoting company of the event, to help Salem regain its prestige on the ARCA schedule.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is no longer on the NASCAR national series, but sources as well as Drager are confident that ARCA will visit the road course in 2024. ARCA has visited there four times.

“We’re in dialogue with Mid-Ohio,” Drager said. “Part of this is a business plan, some of that is an entitlement sponsor from one of our vendor partners. There’s the broadcast piece. Televising a road course race requires a tremendous amount of equipment and people to properly cover it.

“FOX has said, ‘We are going to cover these events in a first-class way. We have to make sure the business arrangement takes that into consideration. So we look at the other weekends that Mid-Ohio has scheduled. We will try to see if we can sync up with any of those. It is a long way to say we are in discussions with them.”

Mid-Ohio will host the NTT IndyCar Series on July 7. That weekend, NASCAR will be at the Chicago street course. So ARCA pairing up with IndyCar for that race weekend at Mid-Ohio is plausible.

In 2021, ARCA raced at Michigan International Speedway on Friday and then at The Springfield Mile on Sunday. In 2022 and 2023, ARCA went from Watkins Glen to The Springfield Mile. In 2024, it will be at MIS on Friday then The Springfield Mile on Sunday. Not only are the two racetracks vastly different, as MIS is a 2-mile fast racetrack and Springfield is a 1-mile dirt track, they are separated by 400 miles.

Yet there are no plans to reward teams, outside of the regular purse, contingencies, and start money for owners, for competing at both facilities.

“Currently, there’s nothing in place for something like the Performance Seed Dirt Double,” Drager continued. “There’s nothing stopping a sponsor from looking at it, embracing it, and saying ‘This is appealing to us. This is something we want to promote what we’re selling.’ Then we can find a way to make a bonus.”

Springfield’s car count has also suffered as of late, with only three out of the last 10 races having more than 25 entrants, most recently in 2016.

Drager hopes Performance Seed returns to sponsor the Dirt Double again as it has done in 2022 and 2023.

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On the West side, expect all racetracks to remain the same on the schedule, with only one new addition: Blue Valor Motorplex, a brand new 0.333-mile short track in Emmett, Idaho.

“It is a possibility, yes, but to be honest, we don’t want to get so extended that it depletes what we got going on,” Wright said. “Effectively, I don’t see us exceeding 12 races in the West. Ultimately something would have to go away for us to pick up something. And the only one that is always sponsor contingent is Evergreen Speedway. So that’s the only question is whether Evergreen will be on or off. Everything else that you see on the West schedule will be a part of the 2024 schedule.”

“It’s worth noting our track has been hosting ARCA West events since the 1960s,” Evergreen track owner Traci Hobbs told Frontstretch. “And in the 13 years Doug and I have owned this track, we’ve run the series continuously. Even in 2020. We are not ‘sponsor dependent’ for any race we promote. We are open year round with 100+ events. We have been a NASCAR home track since the beginning of the 1980s, and have been loyal to the organization. In fact, NAPA Auto Parts has been sponsoring us for this race [the West one] for over 20 years.”

Evergreen has hosted the West series for 62 events, only failing to host the series once in the past 13 years [in 2021]. The 0.625-mile short track is the only NASCAR Home Track in the state of Washington.

While Blue Valor has been rumored to potentially join the West schedule, a representative from the racetrack told Frontstretch, “There have been zero races of any kind confirmed for 2024.”

I have previously advocated for Iowa to host all three ARCA series in one race. The short track will host an ARCA/ARCA East combination race as part of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race weekend there in 2024.

My dream of all ARCA competitors competing at Iowa isn’t likely to come true though.

“The West series is really doing well,” Drager said. “We have concerns about their travel already. For the California-based teams to travel to Portland, Oregon or Monroe, Washington, that’s a difficult trip for them to make. To saddle them with another points-paying event in Iowa, we do not think it is in the best interest of the West series.”

“Today’s base of teams probably doesn’t have the desire that the former K&N West teams had to go that far,” Wright added. “Honestly, it is father for West teams to go to Iowa than it is East teams. If you took Los Angeles or Sacramento, those teams’ travel distance is a higher number than the East teams, most of which are based in the Charlotte area.”

Two races remain in the 2023 West season at Madera Speedway and Phoenix. The Madera event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11 p.m. ET and Phoenix will wrap up the West season on Friday, Nov. 3 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Both races will be covered live by FloRacing.

About the author

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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