ARCA Truck Series Heads to “Volunteer State”: Tennessee’s Newport Speedway Is This Saturday Night!

 

Millersport, Ohio (August 12th) – For the second time in the 2011 season, the ARCA Truck Series will venture to a brand new facility, the Newport Speedway, in Newport, Tennessee on Saturday night, August 13th for the ARCATruckRacing.com 125 which will feature a half time break in the racing action! Practice begins at 4:00 P.M. followed by Fire Tiger Pole Qualifying at 6:30, with the green flag slated for 9:30! The Newport Speedway is located in the southeastern corner of where the I-81 and I-40 Interstates intersect and is just east of I-75.  It will also be only the second time the Series has traveled to the “Volunteer State”, but the first time under the direction of the Phoenix Management Group, or “PMG”. On October 16th, 2005, three-time series champion Paul Hahn of Canton, Michigan bested the ARCA Truck Series field at the legendary Nashville Fairgrounds track which was, at the time, called “Music City Motorplex”. It will be the 148th event in Series history and is the sixth race of 2011 which officially begins the second half of the ten race season.

Nestled deep in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains between Knoxville and Johnson City, the city of Newport has a rich history and, according to the city’s website, the origin of Cocke County dates back to 1783, when frontiersman began moving westward from parts of North Carolina and Virginia into eastern Tennessee.  The early settlements were along the Nolichucky River, a primary mode of transportation during this time period.  As the word of Cocke County’s fertile land and ample water resources spread throughout the region, more and more settlers were drawn to that part of the country. Among these early settlements none were more important than the town of Newport which was designated as the county seat.  The first settler at the site of Newport, today known as Old Town, was John Gilliland.  It was Gilliland who donated fifty acres of land in order to build present day Newport.  The first town of Newport was laid out in the year 1799, two years after the establishment of Cocke County.  The first houses in Newport were crudely constructed shanties.  However, Newport had a hotel, which was the largest building in the town at that time, operated by Mr. Milligan.  There were numerous reasons why Newport was selected to be the first county seat, but none greater than an early settler named Peter Fine who operated a ferry across the river near present day Newport.  This was important because without the ferry, the economic stability of the fledgling town would have been sparse at best, if at all.  Both John Gilliland and Peter Fine were also Revolutionary War soldiers and Indian fighters.  Both Gilliland and Fine resided in Newport until their deaths. After the turn of the 20th century, the eastern hills of Tennessee were sort of a “moonshine capital” as most have seen played up in stories about stock car racing. However, since having cleaned up any corruption, the city now boasts over 7,000 residents and now boasts retail as their biggest employer with the convergence of the Interstates that all travel close by.

Newport Speedway caters to both competitors and race fans who live in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. A 4/10ths mile asphalt oval, the track (which was paved in 1988) boasts banking of 26’ in the turns. Divisions competing every weekend there are Super Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Street Stocks, Front Wheel Drive, Modified 4’s (somewhat similar to the forerunner to the ARCA Truck Series, the ARCA Pro-4 Series), Legends and Mini Cups. Also, ISCARS, PASS and the UARA have also been to the central Tennessee high banks. Two well-known races also claim Newport as home: former NASCAR Nationwide star L.D. Ottinger and current ARCA development driver Jake Crum.

The 2011 ARCA Truck Series season has been an exciting one so far. Hahn and Kenny Kirsch, Jr. have both claimed two wins apiece while 2010 Series champion won last weekend’s event at Flat Rock for his third career win. Hahn and Kirsch were tied for the point lead at 880 apiece heading into last weekend’s race, but despite leading the first 58 of 100 laps, Kirsch’s NAPA Legends Batteries/Kirsch Automotive Chevy had numerous handling issues and eventually dropped to 13th place a lap off the pace. Hahn’s Turbo Air Drying/Hahn’s Collision/Fox Auto Parts Chevy, despite being sent to the tail for on-track contact, powered his way back through the field to finish third behind Bailey’s C.A. Bailey Chevy and Mike Young’s Dave White/Auto Credit Chevy. DJ Safety Rookie of the Race winner Shawn Szep in his THIKtees.com Chevy was fourth followed by Rick Groetsch’s Specialty Fitters Chevy. Hahn now leads Kirsch 1210 to 1155, followed by Brad Yunker (after experiencing his first finish out of the top four all season with a 9th at Flat Rock) in his Owens Community College/CGS imaging Chevy at 1135, Szep has 1130 and Ash Hawkins A & K Racing Chevy sits fifth with 1090. Rounding out the top ten are Bailey at 1075, Tim Schafer (who holds the longest active streak in the series having not missed a race since the first one of 2007) in his and his dad Ray’s Kirsch Automotive/Double S Racing Chevy with 1040, DJ Safety Rookie challengers Marcus Jones (Best One Tire/Jones & Sons Chevy) and Brandon Huff (Brad’s Towing/Martin’s Auto Body/Embroidery by Renee Chevy) are tied with 1020 each and veteran Craig Meyers in his Classic Racing Coupes/Regency Kennels Dodge at 935.

Winners of the Special Awards at Flat Rock Speedway were Chad Poorman in his first event, taking the Ed & Co. Hard Charger Award, the THIKtees.com Award went to Bailey, the Georgia Boot Award went to Chris Bailey, Sr. and the Safety Kleen Crew Chief Award was claimed by Paul’s dad and truck owner Rick Hahn. As well, Kirsch leads in the Door 2 Door Delivery Most Popular Driver Award! Entry forms can be found in the 2011 ARCA Truck Series Press Guide/2010 Yearbook at the ARCA Truck Series souvenir trailer at every series event with all sorts of ARCA Truck Series goodies of your favorite Series drivers!

The ARCA Truck Series features 10 events at 9 tracks on its 2011 schedule, and is operated for the second season by the Phoenix Management Group, LLC, under a licensing agreement with ARCA. The ARCA Truck Series ran its first full season under ARCA sanction in 1999, after evolving from the Pro-4 Series, which was sanctioned by ARCA for the previous nine years. Today, the series has grown into one of the most versatile series in short track racing, having taken popular V-6 & V-8 powered trucks to asphalt tracks of many sizes under one mile, a road course, and numerous dirt tracks in its history.

Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.

Following the ARCA Truck Series has become easier than ever lately! For in-depth stories, continually log on to ARCATruckRacing.com. For instant “ARCA Truck Series Right Now News Alerts” text messages, please email [email protected] and ask to be added to that list. There is a “ARCA Truck Series” facebook page, and you can see highlights on youtube.com at the ARCA Truck Series page at http://youtube.com/arcatrucks !

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