NASCAR and ARCA have announced a new championship format for 2020 which adds a fourth championship series to the current three historic regional ones.
The new series will serve the dual purpose of granting young drivers a crucial step on their way to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and of giving short-track veterans a competitive professional level series in which to battle.
They will also provide continuity to three of the longest running high-level regional stock car series in the United States.
The four championships will be ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, which continue in the traditions established by the Busch North Series (founded in 1987) and Pacific Coast Late Model Series/Winston West (1954) and currently competing as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West; ARCA Menards Series, founded in 1953, which is a mix of national-series combination events at venues such as Daytona International Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway and well as short tracks like Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin and the Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt tracks; and ARCA Racing Series Showdown, which will comprise ten races within the larger ARCA Menards Series championship and will feature the best of the three series coming together to crown a Showdown champion.
“We cannot be more excited about 2020,” said Brandon Thompson, Managing Director, NASCAR Touring Series. “Both NASCAR and ARCA have worked extremely hard over the last year to provide a rules package and schedule that will serve as the foundation for the preeminent series for racing at this level. It was important for us to move the series forward while creating an environment inclusive for both the current long-term owners and drivers in the series as well as aspiring competitors.”
“What first started as a friendship between Bill France Sr. and John Marcum nearly 70 years ago took a momentous step forward today,” said ARCA President Ron Drager. “The amount of history and tradition these series are bringing together to form four elite championships for drivers is an amazing testament to the strength of this sport.
“We are proud and honored to be able to bring the ARCA sanction to the East and West Series; and we are looking forward to working with the race teams, tracks, media partners, fans, and sponsors that have helped those series achieve their long term success.”
NASCAR will also allow East, West or current ARCA Menards Series car owners possessing cars which meet the 2019 rulebook’s regulation to compete in 2020 with a special rules package.
“We’re pleased that we’re able to extend our racing sponsorships to include the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West,” said Menards President & CEO John Menard. “We hope that race fans throughout the country will further enjoy great racing action while also becoming familiar with the Menards brand by shopping at our home improvement stores located in the Midwest or at Menards.com”.
The 2020 ARCA Menards Series will kick off Saturday, Feb. 8 at Daytona with the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire. The Showdown will take the green flag with ARCA’s inaugural visit to ISM Raceway on March 6, while the West will start the Las Vegas weekend with a return to the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
West dates also include traditional events at Irwindale Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.,, and will crown its champion at ISM Raceway in November. The East will race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, as well as Toledo Speedway, Watkins Glen International, and again be part New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend. The East season will culminate with the championship race at Dover International Speedway.
In addition to Daytona and Charlotte, the ARCA Menards Series schedule will include Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Pocono Raceway, and finish the season at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 16.
The Showdown 10-race schedule features Salem Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Minnesota’s Elko Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and will crown its first Showdown champion at Memphis Motorsports Park on Sept. 26.
The broad geographical distribution of these races should allow drivers to either focus on their regional championships or expand their racing plans and chase bigger prizes.
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