“ARCA only does 20 races a year around the country so to fit on their schedule was really good,” said Bob Sargent with Track Enterprises.

“Of course they opened their season at Daytona, Pensacola is their second stop and we’re anticipating a very competitive race,” said Tim Bryant with Five Flags Speedway.

It’s time to party like it’s 1996 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. It’s been over two decades since ARCA racers strapped in and took to the Gulf Coast track.

“It’s been a highly anticipated start to the racing season since we announced this last October that we were bringing the ARCA Menard Racing Series to Pensacola. We’re looking for a good bookend, we obviously end with the Snowball Derby every December. We think this is a good way to get things started,” said Bryant.

It’s been a while since race fans saw ARCA racing at Five Flags Speedway. And it turns out, the drivers are just as excited to make their return to the Gulf Coast.

“Five Flags Speedway has a massive amount of history with this being the site of the Snowball Derby,” said driver of the #25 car Michael Self. “It’s such a famous short track, and then when you add ARCA into that it’s a great storyline.”

“I played this track on a lot of video games growing up,” said driver of the #18 car Ty Gibbs. “It’s cool to be here finally. My dad and uncle raced here, so it’s cool to finally be here. There’s so much history that goes into this place.”

The ARCA series is a proving ground for up and coming drivers.

“The ARCA series has cultivated some of the biggest names in racing. Many guys that have come through the series, a lot like our super-late model racers that we see throughout the season, are on their way to bigger and better things,” said Bryant.

And there’s one rising racer set to hit the track in a few weeks that has a familiar last name.

“My uncle and dad raced here, so hopefully we can carry that on. Hopefully we can finish better than they did. That’s the competition, my family is big on competition,” said Gibbs.

Ty Gibbs is of course a member of the famous Gibbs family and a member of the Joe Gibbs racing team. He’s ready for an entertain the fans and make his family proud on March 9th.

“There are going to be a lot of fireworks, and hopefully we end in victory lane,” said Gibbs.

WKRG NEWS 5 - Sports Overtime - 02/10/2019