IRVINGTON, Ala. — Rick Crawford had plenty to smile about after Saturday’s Mobile ARCA 200 at Mobile Int’l Speedway.
After taking over as the track’s manager and promoter last March, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving veteran quickly went to work on securing a date from the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
That quest reached its destination Sept. 21, with an announcement that ARCA would race at the half-mile track.
Saturday, race fans along Alabama’s Gulf Coast saw the green flag and watched ARCA cars take the track for the first time after a long process. Crawford spoke about the race’s success just moments after hometown driver Cale Gale secured his win.
“We had a sold out crowd, first of all,” said Crawford. “Mobile fans really support Mobile Int’l Speedway and for ARCA to come in and put on this race is quite a show. Quality, professional drivers. Mobile’s own Cale Gale winning; it’s almost like a script.”
Grant Enfinger, of nearby Fairhope, Ala., was one ARCA veteran who appreciated the chance to run in front of people from his home community.
“It was really fun,” he said. “I think everyone out there enjoyed it. The support for the community is really cool for Rick Crawford and all he’s done down here. I’m pretty excited. Hopefully, ARCA comes back, and hopefully we do, too.”
Last season’s ARCA runner-up, Chris Buescher, has four career short track wins and appreciated the chance to compete on another track.
“We had a really good time,” he said. “It’s really exciting to be here at Mobile for the first time. It’s a heck of a race track, and I think we put on a heck of a race here. ARCA coming to a new short track is a great time. I think all these guys really like this track. We had a super, competitive field from the minute we unloaded. Hats off to Rick Crawford and Mobile. It was a great time and fun racing — real fast for a short track like this and I’m hoping we can get back here. I’m really glad ARCA stepped up and decided to come here.”
University of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, who next season will be a redshirt junior, appeared at Mobile Int’l Speedway to deliver the command to start engines prior to the race.
The quarterback, originally from Mobile, spoke on the track’s frontstretch before the race about his connection to Mobile and the day’s events.
“It’s awesome,” McCarron said. “My family, my grandfather — my dad’s dad — used to race down here at Mobile Int’l a long time ago and I’ve been coming down here since I was five years old, so it’s great to be back here to watch a race and see the ARCA (Racing) Series. It’s great to see the city get something like this. We’ve got a good turnout.”BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.