Two Barrel Carbs, Tire Rules, and Racers on a Budget Prove “Myth” unlikely

by Kari Shear-Carlson
Sep 26, 2013- The ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment and Lester Buildings takes pride in the success they have built over the years in trying to control costs in a high level series. Often times the “myth” about a series being too expensive can float around the racing scene, but when it comes down to the facts, dollar for dollar, the series has done a great job erasing that myth.

So where does the myth begin?

“We aren’t sure how it all gets started, but usually its shop talk,” said series President Tim Olson. “The cars all cost the same money to build, and the travel to an event is still the same, so we try to make a difference in our pay scale to be one of the best in the industry. We focus heavily on our Touring Star program bonuses and our cash and product contingency plans. When they start adding it up, they begin to realize that the ARCAMT is where they need to be. The competition is so tough in the Tour and it makes good drivers great,” added Olson

Drivers like Vita Ice Touring Star Skylar Holzhausen and i-gogs Sunglasses Touring Star Andrew Morrissey know exactly what it means to race and be successful on a low budget. Andrew is the 2011 Midwest Tour Champion and most recent series winner with his victory at Elko Speedway. Skylar is this season’s fourth highest paid driver with over $18,000 in winnings, even missing one event at Norway. Both are multiple-time winners in the series, all while managing a tight budget.

Low-budget racing begins before the season even starts. At the beginning of each season the Morrissey’s look at how much it will cost for each race, including how much it is to win, start, etc. This gives them an idea about the costs for the year so that they can budget for the season.

“By doing it that way we know that if we show up and have a bad day, even worse-case scenario, we have an idea of how much we’ll lose. So we plan ahead. If I go to all the races, I’ll make this much and so on,” said Morrissey. “The Tour is actually one of the most affordable series. I think it’s more affordable than any when you look at the pay off, contingencies and rule package.”

The rule package has remained consistent and all new products are under scrutiny by Mike “Lumpy” Lemke (ARCA Midwest Tour tech director) to control these cost for the racer, which are not only noticed by racers, but manufacturers alike. VDL Fuel Systems owner Dan VanderLey has high praise for the direction of the series.

“From a carburetor stand point the ARCA Midwest Tour has made an excellent choice for their touring series. The Holley 500cfm carburetor is the least expensive and easiest to tech of all the carburetors being run today. Also the carburetor is a great equalizer and levels the playing field so a budget team can be close on engine performance to a well funded engine package. There is a great temptation to think high horsepower engine rules equals better racing, but I believe it just runs the cost up on everything from engines to chassis set ups. Actually, if you analyze racing history, most of the best years from car count to fan attendance took place with engines in the 500 HP range which is just where the ARCA Midwest Tour is with their engine package,” said VanderLey.

Two barrel carburetors have contributed to lowering the number one expense (motors) over the years with less wear and tear, longer times between rebuilds, and engine durability. A majority of 100 lap races and strict tire rules keep things in control yet very exciting for the race fans attending an event.

When it comes to tires, Skylar Holzhausen is probably one of the best at utilizing what he has and not driving up the cost at each and every race.

“With my dad’s knowledge, I got to learn the old ways. We’ve always been good about saving tires. He taught me that. We can’t afford to buy tires every week. We just can’t do it. In fact, I think we’ve only bought four or six practice tires this whole season. We just find four we’ve got laying around and use them for practice at the next race. We’ve got the sponsorship that helps but we do it out of our own pocket. It’s kind of surprising, yet it isn’t, how we run.”

Morrissey follows the same policy.

“I’ll buy a set of practice tires about every three or so races. Then I’ll use my race tires for practice for the next couple of races. I think it works out fine for us.”

Cost management isn’t the only thing Holzhausen and Morrissey have learned while racing on a budget in the ARCA Midwest Tour. The most important thing they both agree on is showing up.

“If you just keep coming to each and every race, you’ll get better and better, and the cost balances out. You just have to keep coming no matter how discouraged you get,” said Morrissey.

Holzhausen also added, “Just show up consistently. If you support the Tour and show up for every race, the Touring Star program gives you a lot more opportunities. The sponsors of the program want to see us there and they want to help us out.”

“The best part about it all, is when your standing in victory lane in the ARCA Midwest Tour, people don’t know who’s on a budget and who isn’t.”

Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).

To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. For questions call the ARCA Midwest Tour office at (262) 729-4111 or Tim Olson at (612) 327-5831 or Steve Einhaus (630) 212-6022 at or e-mail Tim Olson at tim@arcamidwesttour.comor Steve Einhaus at steve@arcamidwesttour.com.

The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.

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