KANSAS CITY, KS. â All that separates two drivers from the ARCA Menards Series championship is 100 laps and 15 points.
On one side is rising young star Christian Eckes, who has surged into the lead on the strength of two wins and four runner-up finishes in his last six starts. On the other is veteran driver Michael Self, who has four wins as he chases his first championship.
Theyâll settle the title Friday evening at Kansas Speedway in the Kansas 150. The race will air live on MAVTV and, for the first time, it will stream live on NASCAR.com, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. The race will also air on same-day delay on FS1 following the conclusion of the American League Championship Series game, at approximately 11 p.m.
âThis is a great opportunity for race fans to catch all the live ARCA Menards Series action on NASCAR.com and watch the culmination of a great championship battle,â said ARCA Menards Series president Ron Drager. âWith all the great news coming out recently around the 2020 ARCA Menards Series, including a relaunch of ARCARacing.com, this is a perfect way to close out the season and look forward to exciting opportunities next year.â
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NASCAR and ARCA recently announced the new format for the ARCA Menards Series, which will combine the current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West and the ARCA Menards Series into a multiple championship format under ARCA Menards Series next year.
It was important, said Drager, to provide an integral development step for young drivers who aspire to move up to NASCARâs three national series, as well as a highly competitive, professional level for short-track veterans.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Fridayâs finale.
Eckes has three wins, 12 top fives and 16 top 10s in the No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota for Bill Venturini. The 18-year-old from Middletown, N.Y., leads the ARCA Menards Series despite missing the third race of the season due to an illness. Heâs also made 10 starts over the last two years in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Most recently, he won the pole and finished third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Self, driving the No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota for Venturini, has four wins, 13 top fives and 14 top 10s. The 28-year-old from Park City, Utah, a veteran of 71 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, finishing fourth in the West in 2013 and â17. In 2013, he became the first West driver to win the annual NASCCAR K&N Pro combination race at Iowa Speedway. Self also has seven wins in 38 starts in the ARCA Menards Series between 2014-19, including winning the 2018 race at Daytona International Speedway.
âWe have to be ahead of Christian if we are going to win the championship,â Self said. âNothing that happened prior to this race really matters. Itâs all about what happens in this race. Weâre going to do what weâve done all season long and go out and try to win. I like the style of racing on the big tracks.
âIf we do that, weâll have done all we can and weâll see how it shakes out.â
Fridayâs finale has plenty of star power in addition to the title tilt.
The field will include multi-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winner Hailie Deegan, 2018 ARCA Menards Series champion Sheldon Creed, and 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Harrison Burton. Burton was announced Thursday as the driver of Joe Gibbs Racingâs No. 20 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the 2020 season.
The ARCA Kansas 150 will get underway Friday with practice at 1 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 6 p.m.