By Roger Walk
Chesterfield driver Francis Jarrelle raced to his third straight victory in the Arena Racing RVA 50-lap Insurance Doctor PRO-Series B Main race at the Richmond Coliseum recently.
For the third season in Richmond, the racing continues through April 11. Arena Racing RVA brings indoor stock-car racing as an exciting, entertaining, and increasingly popular sport to the Richmond Coliseum. Race cars half the scale of standard Sprint Cup cars, weighing approximately 740 pounds including the driver, and with 22 horse-power engines sprint around a tilted-hockey-rink-sized race track in the center of the coliseum arena.
Three Chesterfield drivers race in the 14 and up Pro Class. They speed around the track approaching 50 mph. In addition to the high speed, the rubbing, bumping, spinning, and occasional crashing make Arena Racing an exciting entertainment. The safety measures are in place to make the races safe and the event family-friendly.
Arena Racing USA was founded by Richmond’s-own, former NASCAR chassis builder Ricky Dennis and his partners and is headquartered in Richmond. It provides young talented drivers from the Metro Richmond area and the surrounding counties an opportunity to grow into the car racing sport close to home.
In a January race, 23-year-old Jarrelle won one of the main Pro Class races. In lap 25 of the 50-lap race Mr. Jarrelle from Chester demonstrated his racing skills by taking over the lead in the crowded high-banked track in the center arena, speeding to a clear win in one of the top ranked races of the evening.
“I started racing at the age of seven and I’ve won the East Coast Drag Racing Championship Virginia when I was 17,” Jarrelle said. Now, racing in the adult Pro category of Arena Racing USA, he is on his way to become a full-scale professional racecar driver and big attraction for the cheering local fans.
Arena Racing USA Dennis is the son of 1970 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, Bill Dennis. Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and former Head Coach of the Washington Redskin’s, is a partner in Arena Racing USA.
James E. Ukrop, former chairman and CEO of Ukrop’s Super Markets, is also involved in the area racing game, aside from soccer and swimming,