Under the lights: ARCA to hold first dirt track race at night in nearly 20 years

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For the first time in nearly 20 years, the ARCA Series is going to get dirty in the dark.

ARCA officials announced Wednesday that they’ll host the series’ first dirt track race at night in nearly two decades with the General Tire Grabber 100 at DuQuoin (Illinois) State Fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 4.

It will mark the 63rd annual running of the General Tire Grabber 100 on DuQuoin’s “Magic Mile” of dirt.

The last time ARCA raced on a dirt track at night was July 12, 1997 at West Virginia Motor Speedway. ARCA veteran Frank Kimmel won that race.

Now the lights will be back on the dirt at DuQuoin. Count ARCA veteran driver Tom Hessert as among those in favor.

“I think it’s going to be a better show all the way around,” Hessert said in a ARCA release. “Everything looks better under the lights.”

Hessert finished third at DuQuoin in last year’s race – during the daylight, of course.

“It’s going to be fun,” Hessert said. “I don’t know if we’ll race around the top like the Silver Crown cars do, but you never know. You can definitely slide the car around more with moisture in the track. It’s going to be pretty awesome. It’s definitely going to make the place racier, and if it does that, it’s the right way to go.”

Grant Enfinger, who won the 2015 ARCA championship, has won the last two races at DuQuoin.

The first ARCA race at DuQuoin was in 1950 (Jay Frank won). Other past winners of the race there reads like a who’s who of auto racing: Indy 500 winners Jimmy Bryan and AJ Foyt, Fred Lorenzen, Don White, Norm Nelson, Jack Bowsher, NASCAR champions Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart, Bob Keselowski, Billy Thomas, Ken Schrader, Parker Kligerman, Chris Buescher and Grant Enfinger.

Practice for the race will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. CT on Sept. 4, followed by qualifying at 5:30 p.m.

The General Tire Grabber 100 will take the green flag at 8 p.m. CT. The race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on the American Sports Network.

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