Officials from the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and Sioux Chief Manufacturing have jointly announced that the rough plumbing components manufacturer has extended its support and sponsorship of the ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge for 2019.
“Sioux Chief is pleased to extend our sponsorship for the 2019 season, continuing as the primary sponsor for the ARCA Menards Series Short Track Challenge,” said Joe N. Ismert, president of Sioux Chief Mfg. Co., Inc. “We are looking forward to another exciting season of great racing.”
The Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge is a series within the ARCA Menards Series, with drivers earning points toward a championship contested on tracks one mile or less in length. The eleven events that will make up the Short Track Challenge kick off with the ARCA Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway on March 9 and will conclude at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis on October 5. Other events include Salem Speedway on April 7, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on May 4, Toledo Speedway on May 19, Madison International Speedway June 14, Elko Speedway on July 13, Iowa Speedway on July 19, Illinois State Fairgrounds on August 18, DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on August 31, and a second visit to Salem Speedway on September 14.
Teams and drivers will race for the Short Track Challenge championship under a special race-only points system, and only a driver’s ten best finishes count toward the championship. Each driver discards his or her worst finish if they compete in all eleven races.
“We’re extremely excited about all the great things happening in the ARCA Menards Series and the Sioux Chief Short-Track Challenge is another example of an ongoing partnership that’s working well for all of us with a like-minded company such as Sioux Chief,” said Jeff Abbott, promotions manager for Menards. “By the way, the short-track races are really competitive!”
Kyle Weatherman, 2015 Bounty Rookie of the Year, earned the inaugural Short Track Challenge title in ’15. Chase Briscoe, 2016 ARCA Racing Series national champion, captured the ARCA Short Track Challenge championship on his way to that season’s championship, as did Austin Theriault and Sheldon Creed, each of whom won the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge on their way to overall season championships in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
While the ARCA Menards Series does not allow drivers under 18 years of age to race on tracks longer than one mile in length, drivers as young as 15 are eligible to race on tracks one mile in length and under. That opens the door for young drivers to compete for the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge title even though they are not eligible to race for the overall season championship. One of the drivers doing that in 2019 is Portage, Michigan teenager Carson Hocevar.
Hocevar, the all-time leading winner in USAC .25 Midget competition and a multiple-time USAC quarter midget national champion, and the KBR Development team have committed to racing in each of the eleven Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge events in 2019.
“It means a lot just to be able to race in the ARCA Menards Series with our KBR Chevy,” Hocevar said. “ARCA is a level not many drivers are able to reach. I am very humble for my opportunity this year to race for a short track championship and want to thank Sioux Chief for their support of ARCA. Short tracks are the grassroots of stock car racing. It is always cool to see the local tracks and local sponsors get support from race fans. When ARCA comes into town, it’s often a track’s biggest race of the year and packs the grandstands. A true sight to see and honor to be part of.”
Hocevar made three ARCA Menards Series starts in 2018, scoring top five finishes at Berlin Raceway and Lucas Oil Raceway. In his debut at Toledo Speedway in May, a mechanical issue led to problems in the race track and unfinished business for Hocevar in his return this season.
“I am really excited to head back to Toledo Speedway,” Hocevar said. “We ran really well there last year, until a mechanical issue took us a few laps down. Besides the top two cars, we were the only team to not lose a lap under green, and we drove all the way to third on the race track from the back of the field. So I am excited to get back there again with our KBR Development team.”
Sioux Chief Manufacturing first partnered with ARCA and Menards in 2015 as the race entitlement sponsor at Lucas Oil Raceway. The business-to-business relationship between Menards, the country’s third largest home improvement retail chain, and Sioux Chief, a leading rough plumbing manufacturer and supplier of cutting-edge products for plumbing and mechanical contractors, brings opportunities for Sioux Chief to promote its products to the Menards contractor customer base.
“The Short Track Challenge was an immediate hit with both participants and fans,” said Mark Gundrum, ARCA’s vice president of business development and corporate partnerships. “It quickly proved to be a great way to bring even more notoriety to the great short track racers that compete in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.”