TEMPERANCE, Mich. – It’s not often a Minnesotan gets to race at his home track in the ARCA Racing Series, but that’ll be the case when the Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care rolls off the grid Saturday night, June 1 at Elko Speedway.
In fact, the event at Elko marks only the second time in ARCA history that the 61-year-old tour has raced in Minnesota – the other being a year ago for the inaugural running of the Akona 250 at Elko.
However, thanks to an opportunity with Cunningham Motorsports, Jonathan Eilen, from nearby Hampton, Minn., is entered in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsport Dodge for Elko.
Eilen, the 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour champion, cut his teeth on the Elko track from 2001 forward.
“Elko’s only 20-30 miles from home, so I definitely consider it my home track,” Eilen said.
“I won a title there back in ’02 in the Hobby Stock division. I was rookie of the year the first year. Then we moved into the sportsman division, then up into late models. We actually won the inaugural ARCA Midwest Tour race at Elko in 2007, so we’ve built up quite a following there over the years. Being on the (ARCA Midwest) tour over the last few years, we haven’t had the opportunity to race there too much, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one.”
Cunningham Motorsports is renowned for providing great opportunities for up and coming drivers to advance their careers. Cunningham groomed the careers of Parker Kligerman and, most recently, Alex Bowman, both of whom are competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series tour fulltime. The teams also field the full-time ARCA entry for veteran Tom Hessert.