ARCA Composite Body Track Eligibility Expanding in 2016by Kyle Pokrefky October 31, 2015 0 comments
A successful season for the ARCA Racing Series’s new composite body has prompted series officials to open up more tracks to be eligible to run the body in the 2016 season.
Manufactured by Five Star Bodies, the composite body designed to replicate the look of the modern sixth-generation Sprint Cup car was able to be used by ARCA competitors on track at circuits that were one mile or less in length.
For 2016, the track eligibility for the body will expand to all tracks on the ARCA calendar barring Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
ARCA will not mandate that the body be used by all and will leave the decision up to each individual team – as was the case for the 2015 season.
Use of the body wasn’t widespread this season with composite body-using cars never making up more than half a field on a given race weekend.
The bodies did have their share of success, however, as the cars went to victory lane five times out of 11 races that they were eligible.
Perhaps the greatest advantage that the new bodies afford the teams that make up the ARCA circuit is their affordability compared to the steel bodies that made up the series for years. The new pieces also require less repair time in the garage at both the track and at the shop – further reducing the post-race expenses facing teams.
“The composite body program will result in us as a race team needing a smaller inventory of race cars to run the full series,” Bill Kimmel, owner of Kimmel Racing, said at a Chicagoland Speedway test with the new body. “We put the same chassis setup, springs and shocks in the car we tested as we had in the steel bodied car we raced at Chicagoland.
“We ran times that were every bit as fast, which did surprise us some. Will said the car felt a lot like the Cup car he raced this year at Kentucky and Kansas, which makes sense since the bodies are so similar. Overall, I’d definitely say the test was a success.”
Will Kimmel, primary driver of the No. 69 Kimmel Racing Ford, was the driver present at the Wednesday test and gave his approval of the body on the intermediate tracks.
“I was really surprised at how good the car was,” Will said. “Five-Star did a great job with the front to rear aero package. Everything worked really well. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.
“I’m looking forward to racing this car next year. Between the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine and the composite body, I definitely feel ARCA is headed in the right direction.”
Photo Credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn