Geoff’s Journal: The 2015 ARCA season
Photo by Brian DeGruchy/TheRacingExperts.com
Geoff Bodine overlooks qualifying for the ARCA Series finale at Kansas Speedway.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
2015 wrapped up my first full-time season as a part of Bo Lemastus’ team in the ARCA Racing Series.
I advise; I try to use my expertise to help him progress as a driver, help put the setups with Danny Glad (engine builder and crew chief), and every once-in-a-while, I’ll get in the car during a test and shake it down to see if the setup is good and speed that process up a little bit. I have a deal with my wife. I won’t race, but a few laps of practice is okay.
But Bo is getting better at all of that, so I don’t know how much I’ll be getting in the car.
It was an interesting year. The season started out great at Daytona, but went downhill for a few races.
Bo threw in a two-car deal at a couple races and they both backfired on us (Salem and DuQuoin). He was helping some friends, providing cars for them. Both efforts weren’t very good.
Photo by Dante Ricci/TheRacingExperts.com
Geoff Bodine talks with an ARCA official at Pocono Raceway in August 2015.
But, it did turn around. As a driver, Bo is learning. He was learning that it is better to finish than to be involved in wrecks and how to control the adrenaline that gets going in race car drivers.
The finishes started getting better and better. When you crash a few times, it puts the whole team behind too. The whole program kept getting better.
Bo LeMastus' No. 42 Dodge sits in the garage area prior to the start of the Full Throttle S'loonshine 98.9 at Kansas Speedway.
Bo grew tremendously. Compared to the beginning of the season, he’s more consistent, he’s finishing races.
For a while, it was “wide open” till you hit something, like a wall. Now, it’s wide open when you can, and back off when you need to. He’s a lot smarter driver.
Bo also sponsored a race at Kentucky Speedway, the Crosley Brands 150, in the ARCA Racing Series.
During the NASCAR race weekend at Kentucky in July, we also gave away jukeboxes to each of the three winners.
It shows his commitment to NASCAR, ARCA and to racing is real. He plans to be involved with racing for many years.
The demand and schedule is much different in ARCA compared to NASCAR.
For starters, there is much more money involved in going Sprint Cup racing. There’s a lot more obligations with sponsors, fans and the media.
The races are longer and more competitive. Everything is a lot more difficult in Cup, but ARCA is laid back. You have several good teams that you’re racing against every week, but not the numbers in Cup.
The money is not nearly what it is in Cup, so the financial pressure is a lot less. With Bo, he sponsors his own car, so he controls the pressure that is applied through sponsorship.
The races are very quick too. Sometimes they are one-day deals, sometimes two, and the races are shorter. You’re in-and-out.
It’s a more relaxed way of racing and it’s a good way to get racing experience—that’s why you’ll see a lot of younger drivers in the fields.
It is one series I never raced in, and I’ve thought about running a race just to say I did it, but I have to consider the consequences of getting hurt. I’ve made the agreement with my family not to do it. I can live without doing it, but looking back, I wish I would have run some ARCA races. It’s a great series.
Reflecting on 2015, sixth in points, five top-ten finishes—overall, it was a productive year. We had some fun, some difficulties too, in 2015, but we’re looking forward to an even better 2016.