Local ARCA racer Schenkel does career finale at Michigan IS

Shown in his car, Kent Schenkel, of Huntington, has driven in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) since 2009. He retired from the sport after racing in the Michigan ARCA 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, June 14.
Shown in his car, Kent Schenkel, of Huntington, has driven in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) since 2009. He retired from the sport after racing in the Michigan ARCA 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, June 14. Photo provided.

Kent Schenkel, Huntington resident and driver in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA), participated in his final race last week.

An ARCA driver since 2009, Schenkel decided that last Friday's Michigan ARCA 200, at Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn, MI, would be his last hurrah.

"It's time," he says. "I'm not getting any younger."

Schenkel, 63, started participating in racing schools across the country upon his retirement in 2000. Four years ago, he obtained his ARCA Master License.

"I was very fortunate to be able to get my Master License," he says, "which would allow me to run NASCAR or anybody."

Schenkel has participated in ARCA races every year since then, always returning to Michigan International Speedway, where he finished 16th out of 40 drivers at the RainEater Wiper Blades 200 in 2011.

It's a feat made all the more impressive by ARCA's strong ties to NASCAR.

"Half of the NASCAR drivers came through ARCA that are racing now," he says.

The decision to retire was two-fold.

Part of it had to do with the high cost of racing
"It's so expensive," Schenkel says. "Just one set of tires is $2,500."

And the other part?
"My wife," he chuckles.
Schenkel now plans on selling his car, a Chip Ganassi Dodge outfitted with a Ray Evernham engine, and moving on to other things.

"My bucket list is pretty full," he says. "I want to get back now to doing some additional traveling and things like that.

"There's nothing crazy planned, I'll put it that way."

He looks back on his racing career with no regrets.

"It's the definite fulfillment of something that I wanted to do and was able to do it."