Bret Holmes said this week he is thankful his lead over Michael Holmes in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings is eight points rather than two or three as the 2020 season reaches its finale at Kansas Speedway.
The numbers suggest the 23-year-old is right to feel good about his chances to clinch the title during Friday night’s Speediatrics 150 presented by The NASCAR Foundation (FS1/MRN, 5 p.m. CT). They also suggest Self, 29, will be a tough out on the 1.5-mile paved oval in Kansas City, Kansas.
Holmes has a better average finish than Self through 19 ARCA Menards Series races this season, 4.7-5.2. That includes an average finish edge in superspeedway (Daytona, Talladega, Pocono, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan) races, 3.5-3.8.
Self, though, has a significantly better average finish in five career ARCA Menards Series starts at Kansas with 3.0 compared to Holmes’ 10.2 in four starts.
Friday’s race at Kansas will mark the first time in the track’s history it has hosted two ARCA Menards Series events in the same season. That’s good news for Self based on his strong history at Kansas, but it was Holmes who won the Dawn 150 when the series visited the track in July.
The lack of qualifying ahead of Friday’s Speediatrics 150 presented by The NASCAR Foundation benefits Holmes, who will start second ahead of Self in third based on owner points.
"Starting on the front row really helps, and running like we did earlier this year at Kansas really helps," said Holmes, who admitted he was feeling some nerves in the days leading up to the championship race. "We’re just going to try to do exactly what we did [in the] last race, keep it clean, and I think that’s all that matters."
Added Self: "There’s no plan. You just go win. That’s all we can do. We’re in a nothing-to-lose situation. The [worst-case scenario], we crash, and we still finish second in points. I think as a team at Venturini Motorsports, whatever has to be done to go win."
But even if Self wins, he will not guarantee himself the title.
Below are the head-to-head stats for Holmes and Self ahead of Friday’s championship race, plus the clinching scenarios for both drivers.
(All stats specific to ARCA Menards Series)
|Stat||Bret Holmes||Michael Self|
|2020 championship points||910||902|
|2020 wins||1 (Kansas)||2 (Daytona, Daytona Road Course)|
|2020 top-five finishes||13||11|
|2020 top-10 finishes||18||18|
|2020 laps led||375||125|
|2020 average finish||4.7||5.2|
|Career Kansas starts||4||5|
|Career Kansas wins||1||1|
|Career Kansas top-five finishes||3||4|
|Career Kansas top-10 finishes||3||5|
|Career average finish at Kansas||10.2||3.0|
|2020 superspeedway* wins||1||1|
|2020 superspeedway* top-five finishes||5||5|
|2020 superspeedway* top-10 finishes||6||6|
|2020 average superspeedway* finish||3.5||3.8|
* – Paved ovals greater than 1.5 miles in length
ARCA Menards Series championship clinching scenarios
This is the first year the ARCA Menards Series has followed the current NASCAR points system, with every position counting for a point and bonus points available for leading a lap (+1) and leading the most laps (+2).
ARCA offers an additional point for winning the General Tire Pole Award when qualifying is held. But without qualifying at Kansas, that’s one less piece of math with which Self and Holmes can contend.
Self needs to make up an eight-point gap, and he holds the tiebreaker by virtue of more wins (2-1) this season. Without leading a lap, Holmes can clinch the title by finishing in the top three regardless of what Self does.
The maximum points to be earned at Kansas is 48, meaning Holmes can finish the season with a maximum of 958 points and Self can finish with a max of 950 points.
Below is a table that illustrates the points scenarios for both drivers depending on where they finish at Kansas.