Story By: CHARLES KRALL / ARCA – NEW SMYRNA, FL – After a big weekend of racing at the World Center of Racing that includes the 2020 season opener for the ARCA Menards Series on Saturday, February 8 and The Clash at Daytona for the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday, February 9, the attention of the stock car racing community will turn twelve miles to the south, to the banked half-mile New Smyrna Speedway for the first race of the newly-branded ARCA Menards Series East on Monday, February 10.
The 175-lap main event will be part of the 54th Annual World Series of Asphalt Racing, an eight-night extravaganza of stock car racing that features super late models, pro late models, Tour-type modifieds, SK Modifieds, and a variety of other short track divisions.
The World Series is one of the most popular attractions of SpeedWeeks, particularly Monday through Wednesday as Daytona International Speedway is either dark or has very limited activity. Not only do many fans come to attend those early-week races, but so do many drivers, crew members, and officials.
For the seventh consecutive year, the big show of the week will come on Monday as the full-bodied ARCA Menards Series cars take to the track. The speedway’s seasoned pavement, combined with long straightaways and tight, high-banked turns always produces paint-swapping, fender-banging action that thrills the fans in the stands and the national television audience watching at home.
Former NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Daniel Suarez won the first East race at New Smyrna in 2014, holding off Canadian star Cameron Hayley and future national series stars Brandon Jones and Ben Rhodes. NASCAR Gander Outdoors and RV Truck Series championship contender Austin Hill won in 2015, with then sixteen-year-old Todd Gilliland taking the win in his series debut in 2016. Ronnie Bassett, Jr. scored a popular win in 2017 before Gilliland would take his second New Smyrna checkered in 2018 in a slam-bang finish, narrowing edging Cole Rouse and Harrison Burton in a dash out of turn four. Derek Kraus, the 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, made the trek east and scored the New Smyrna win last February.
“The Hart Family, management and staff of New Smyrna Speedway are excited to welcome the first ARCA Menards Series East race to life,” said John Ward, NSS public relations manager. “New Smyrna Speedway strives to be a pioneer in racing, the opportunity to host the first “ARCA” race goes with our theme at New Smyrna to be a leader, not a follower. We are looking forward to the thrill and excitement that ARCA will bring to our fans and look forward to a long relationship with NASCAR and ARCA we invite everyone to join us for a great, historical time in motorsports.”
The ARCA Menards Series East joins the Tour-type Modifieds on the card for the fourth night of the World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway on Monday, February 10. The race will be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBCSN.