#21: Sam Mayer, Chevrolet SS, Chevy Accessories
Sam Mayer is going for his third straight East win at Bristol Motor Speedway Thursday, and his fourth straight ARCA Menards Series win of 2020. (Nigel Kinrade Photography/NASCAR)

PIT BOX: Busy Race Weekend Could Decide Three Championships


It’s that point in the season where a race can make or break championship aspirations.

Which makes the upcoming weekend all the more critical as points for three separate championships will be on the line Thursday night at "The World’s Fastest Half Mile," Bristol Motor Speedway. The Bush’s Beans 200 (9:30 p.m., FS1 & MRN) is the 16th of 20 races for the ARCA Menards Series, but serves as the penultimate race for both the ARCA Menards Series East and Sioux Chief Showdown.

It will be a quick turnaround for the ARCA Menards Series competitors, as Race No. 17 is Saturday at "The World’s Fastest 1/2 Mile," Winchester Speedway in Indiana. The Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands (3 p.m., TrackPass on NBC Gold & 6 p.m. delayed on MAVTV) will represent the series first trip to the historic oval since 2017.


Bush’s Beans 200 | Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

Will a late week, late night trip to Thunder Valley turn into the Sam Mayer show?

Bms Bushs 200

Fresh off his win(s) at Toledo Speedway, which counted toward both the ARCA Menards Series and East ledgers, the 17-year-old from Franklin, Wisconsin, heads to a track where he swept both East races a year ago.

Mayer has won three of the four East races and built a 21-point cushion over Ty Gibbs. He’s looking to become just the seventh driver in East series history, which traces its lineage back to 1987, to win back-to-back titles.

More uniquely, he’s trying to win the first under the ARCA banner after winning the 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship — and becoming the youngest touring or national series champion in NASCAR history in the process.

Add in the Sioux Chief Showdown, the 10-race format that brings the best of all three ARCA series together, and Mayer has even more motivation. His win two weeks ago at Missouri’s Lebanon I-44 Speedway moved him five points clear of Chandler Smith and Gibbs. The Showdown wraps up with the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 on Sept. 26 at Memphis International Speedway, while the East culminates with the Pensacola 200 Pres. by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on Oct. 10.

Need more?

How about the ARCA Menards Series making its first trip to Bristol since 1969, and Bret Holmes has just wrestled the points lead away from Michael Self.

Holmes has been fast on short tracks, finishing ahead of Self in all three races at the half-mile of Toledo, and we’ll have to see how the high-banks of Bristol factor into the equation.

Another variable? Car count. Twenty seven cars are entered, the high water mark since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, and the depth of field will magnify the impact if a driver has a bad day.

Toyota 200They won’t get long to dwell on it, though.

The ARCA Menards Series heads north to Winchester for Saturday afternoon’s race. The track has held 28 previous ARCA races, dating back to 2017. Frank Kimmel is a seven-time winner, current NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff driver Chase Briscoe won there in 2016 en route to his ARCA title, and current NASCAR Cup Series playoff driver Alex Bowman was victorious there in 2012.

Adding to the mix, ARCA Menards Series West points leader Jesse Love will make his debut with Venturini Motorsports at Winchester behind the wheel of the No. 20 JBL Toyota.

Mayer has won four of the ARCA races run at tracks under a mile this season (three at Toledo), while Chandler Smith and Ty Gibbs have won one apiece.

RACING REFERENCE: Previous ARCA & East races at Bristol | Drivers at Bristol | Previous ARCA Menards races at Winchester | ARCA Menards Drivers at Winchester | 2020 ARCA Menards Series Standings | ARCA Menards Series East Standings | Sioux Chief Showdown: Update & Standings

RACE FACTS

RACE

Bush’s Beans 200

PLACE

Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.

DATE

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

TIME

9 p.m. ET

TELEVISION/RADIO

FS1 (live) / MRN & Sirius XM 385 and online 985

TRACK LAYOUT

half-mile paved oval

EVENT SCHEDULE

Thursday, Sept. 17 — Garage opens: 11:30 a.m. ET; Practice: 6-6:45 p.m.; Bush’s Beans 200: 9:30 p.m.

TWITTER

@BMSUpdates, @ARCA_Racing, @NASCARRoots, @SiouxChief

HASHTAG

#ARCAMenards

RACE CENTER | ENTRY LIST | STARTING LINEUP | RACE EVENT GUIDE

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Bush’s Beans 200 is limited to 35, including provisional positions. The field will be set by qualifying (1-24) and provisional process per the entry blank (25-36) for the Bush’s Beans 200. The remaining 11 spots will be awarded through the provisional process. This event will be run under the 2020 ARCA Menards Series rules, procedures, regulations and specifications.

QUALIFYING: With no qualifying for the event, per the 2020 ARCA Rulebook, the starting lineup will follow 9-5.1 E. which states in part, "When Combination Events are held and the Qualifying session(s) are not completed…the sequence…will be used and divided equally between the Series competing in the Combination Event." As such Car Owner Position 1 AMS/SCS/AMSE will start 1-3; Position 2 (or highest Car Owner position in the respective Series not yet in the starting lineup) AMS/SCS/AMSE will start 4-6; Position 3 AMS/SCS/AMSE will start 7-9; etc.).

RACE PIT STOP: No adding or moving tires to or from pit box once race has started. A maximum four (4) crew members may service car. No tires and fuel may be added outside of the break.

The Bush’s Beans 200 will be 200 laps (106.6 miles) and is to be run in three (3) segments. The race will have the first break, at or near the conclusion of Lap 75; and a second break, at or near the conclusion of Lap 150. At the conclusion of the break(s), vehicles will line up in the order they were running at the beginning of the break.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Per ARCA Rulebook, maximum number of tires allowed in pit box for use in race is eight (8).

RACE FACTS

RACE

Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands

PLACE

Winchester Speedway, Winchester, Indiana

DATE

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020

TIME

3 p.m. ET

TELEVISION/RADIO

TrackPass on NBC Gold (live) & MAVTV (6 p.m., delayed)

TRACK LAYOUT

half-mile paved oval

EVENT SCHEDULE

Saturday, Sept. 19 — Garage opens: 8:35 a.m. ET; Practice: 12:15-12:45 p.m.; General Tire Pole Award Qualifying: 1:30 p.m.; Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands: 3 p.m.

TWITTER

@FastestHalfMile, @ARCA_Racing, @NASCARRoots

HASHTAG

#ARCAMenards

RACE CENTER | ENTRY LIST | RACE EVENT GUIDE

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands is limited to 30, including provisional positions. The field will be set by qualifying (1-24) and provisional process per the entry blank (25-30) for the Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands. The remaining 11 spots will be awarded through the provisional process. This event will be run under the 2020 ARCA Menards Series rules, procedures, regulations and specifications.

QUALIFYING: Two consecutive qualifying laps. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying. Vehicle must qualify on race set up.

RACE PIT STOP: No adding or moving tires to or from pit box once race has started. A maximum four (4) crew members may service car. No tires and fuel may be added outside of the break.

The Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands will be 200 laps (75 miles) and is to be run in three (3) segments. The race will have the first break, at or near the conclusion of Lap 75; and a second break, at or near the conclusion of Lap 150. At the conclusion of the break(s), vehicles will line up in the order they were running at the beginning of the break.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Per ARCA Rulebook, maximum number of tires allowed in pit box for use in race is six (6).