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ARCA Ready for Texas Strut

5 September 1998

By Don Radebaugh

The Saturday afternoon September 19th Cowtown 250 will be the first ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series race held at Texas Motor Speedway but it will not be the first time ARCA has visited the Lone Star state. Texas tracks were a staple on the ARCA tour dating back to the early 1960s through 1993 with stops in Austin, College Station (Texas World Speedway), Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio. The most recent event was at Texas World Speedway in 1993 where Darrell Waltrip won in a Chevrolet and Page Jones, at 20, became the youngest driver in ARCA history to have sat on a superspeedway pole. Mickey Gibbs won there in '92 and two-time series champion Bill Venturini was victorious in '91.

Eric Norris, son of internationally acclaimed actor and martial arts legend Chuck Norris, has entered a '98 Ford Taurus with backing from Prolong Super Lubricants for his first attempt in ARCA competition. Norris's racing experience dates back to 1982 in a variety of different cars including the SCORE/HDRA Off-Road series, Formula 2000, and most recently in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Winston West Series. Norris, who worked as a stuntman in feature films and television in between college semesters, returned to the entertainment and racing industry after graduating from Arizona State University. Currently, the 32 year-old racer is a director and stunt coordinator for the hit CBS television series Walker, Texas Ranger.

Other entries include three-time ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Tim Steele, '95 series champion Andy Hillenburg, former NASCAR Winston Cup champion crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine, current point leader Frank Kimmel, second in points Mark Gibson, 13-time series winner Bob Strait still looking for his first superspeedway victory, veteran Bobby Gerhart, '98 Daytona ARCA 200 polesitter Bill Baird, Templeton, California's Rich Woodland, and Jeff Finley. Finley has, impressively, posted seven top-five finishes since his debut in Ed Rensi's Chevrolet at Memphis Motorsports Park where he was runner-up to veteran Bob Schacht.

Texas drivers entered include the lawyer out of Beaumont Glen Morgan whose best ARCA finish came last year at Michigan Speedway where he finished seventh, 12th in points Chuck Weber out of Mesquite, Billy Meazell out of Frankston, making his first ARCA start Mark Schulz from Garland and Norris, who calls Dallas home.