ARCA: Throwback Paint Schemes Highlight the 100th Running at Salem Speedway


SALEM, Ind. – On the eve of the 100th running of the ARCA Racing Series at Salem Speedway, the Indiana Racing Memorial Association (IRMA) unveiled a historical marker at the entrance to the Indiana track. IRMA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to recognize the historically significant individuals, events, locations, and race tracks that have made Indiana the “Racing Capitol of the World.” The sign at the entrance to Salem reads as follows:

Few race tracks in the nation carry the legacy, prestige and renown as Salem Speedway. Built in 1947 with the intention of all out speed, the .555 mile oval with its daunting high banked turns, has produced dramatic, legendary, thrilling racing for decades. This demanding track has challenged some of the nation’s best drivers, whether they raced sprint cars, midgets or stock cars, and served as a training ground for Indianapolis 500 winners and Daytona 500 Champions.

Storied Indianapolis icons such as Troy Ruttman, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, and Bobby Unser, have met the Salem challenge, as have NASCAR stars like Darrell Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Long a mainstay of the AAA and USAC open wheel cars, the ARCA stock cars have also played a major role in Salem’s success. Not content to rest on historic laurels, Salem Speedway’s management works to extend the track’s legacy far into the future.

When the ARCA Racing Series takes to the track for Saturday night’s Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic, several of the top drivers will feature throwback paint schemes highlighting some of the historic moments from the series.

Thomas Praytor

Mobile, Alabama’s Thomas “Moose” Praytor will pay tribute to the Allison family by running a scheme similar to the one Davey Allison drove to the ARCA Rookie of the Year award in 1984. Bobby Allison, Davey’s father, will serve as Grand Marshall for the race on Saturday night.

“If you grow up racing in Alabama, the Alabama Gang is legendary. Allison, Farmer, Bonnet they put Hueytown and Alabama on the racing map,” Praytor said.

“We have been working on this project for months. Don Radebough at ARCA really helped out with some old pictures from the archives, Advanced Collision painted the car and the guys at CGS Imaging went through a pain staking process of replicating the graphics. About the only thing we didn’t get was a Buick nose.

“Really pumped up Mr. Bobby is going to be the Grand Marshall, maybe he can give me a few pointers on getting around Salem.”


Credit: Max Force Racing

Bret Holmes

Munford, Alabama’s Bret Holmes will also pay tribute to his Alabama roots by running a special decal on his No. 23 Chevrolet to honor the founding member of the “Alabama Gang,” Bobby Allison.

The decal is a mirror image of the legendary Bobby Allison Racing logo that has been a staple of the legendary driver for many years. The logo contains the Bobby Allison Racing name along with Hueytown, Alabama across the bottom.

“We are truly excited to announce this tribute to a legendary driver and one of my racing heroes, Mr. Allison,” said Holmes.

“He represents everything a young stock car driver coming out of Alabama wants to be. When you think “Alabama Gang,” you think of Mr. Bobby. We heard that he was going to be the Grand Marshal at the race this weekend, so we jumped at the chance to honor him.”

Tom Hessert

Hessert’s No. 25 Toyota will feature the iconic stripes that Bill Venturini Sr drove to his first ARCA championship in 1987. The championship season in 1987 also featured an all-female pit crew lead by Venturini’s wife Cathy, which played a major role in securing the title for “Big Bill.”

Hessert carries momentum into Salem from his first win of the season and first with the Venturini organziation last weekend on the dirt at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Three of Hessert’s six career ARCA victories have come at Salem.

“Salem is always a huge race for me and the fans,” said Hessert. “This one though, is going to be extra special. Think about all the history at this track and all the guys who’ve walked thru these gates – it’s really impressive – I’m just really excited to be a part of it all.”

Credit: Landon Huffman

Credit: Landon Huffman

Mason Mingus

When Mason Mitchell formed his team in 2014, current team Public Relations director Tim Clagg had an immediate answer when Mitchell asked what number the team should choose. That answer was the No. 98 in honor of Benny Parsons.

This weekend that honor will come full circle as the No. 98 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet will feature the bright yellow paint scheme that Parson’s drove to back-to-back ARCA championships in 1968 and 1969.

The iconic scheme will be piloted by Mason Mingus, making his first ARCA Racing Series start since the end of the 2013 season.

“Salem is probably the most physically and mentally demanding track on the ARCA schedule, which is why it is always such an entertaining race for the fans,” Mingus stated. “It’s a very tough race track because it is so worn out and also such a high speed race track. There is very little grip and tires fall off very quick so you have to constantly be saving your tires.”


Credit: Mason Mitchell

Chase Briscoe

Cunningham Motorsports has confirmed that current championship point leader Briscoe will run a throwback scheme on his No. 77 Ford. While the Cunningham organization isn’t releasing details, the team will unveil the car at the track on Saturday morning.

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About Brian Eberly

Brian Eberly (@beberly18) is a Certified Public Accountant and Manager of Field Accounting at a transportation company, but when he isn’t at the office you can most likely find him at a racetrack, watching a race on television, or following the action on social media. Eberly became interested in NASCAR in the nineties when Jeff Gordon was dominating the scene, and became hooked when he attended his first race with his dad in 1999 at Michigan International Speedway. Eberly has been writing about NASCAR since 2012 for various websites. An Illinois native and Northern Illinois University graduate, Eberly travels throughout the Midwest covering racing events in multiple series. When not following racing, he can be found on the golf course (usually trying to find his golf ball) and following the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, Bulls, and of course the NIU Huskies.

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