After a layoff of more than two months, the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge concluded with the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season finale at Kansas Speedway on Friday. The Speediatrics 150 presented by The NASCAR Foundation marked the seventh and final superspeedway race of the season, as well as the second trip to Kansas this year.
The battle for the superspeedway crown remained tight all the way down to the last race, as just six points separated the top three teams — No. 18 car owner Coy Gibbs, No. 23 car owner Stacy Holmes and No. 25 car owner Cathy Venturini — going into the weekend.
When the checkered flag fell and the dust settled, Bret Holmes was able to score not only the overall series championship but also the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge crown for his family-operated Bret Holmes Racing team.
The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge is a special series within the greater ARCA Menards Series overall championship. The challenge is comprised of races on the schedule at paved ovals greater than 1.5 miles in length.
Race points only count towards a team’s yearlong tally, with bonus points not counted towards this total. The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge is contested among car owners, rather than drivers, so that a team using multiple drivers has the same chances of winning as a team with a single full-time driver. Chad Bryant and his No. 22 Ford entered 2020 as the defending champion thanks to three wins in 2019 by driver Ty Majeski.
The first of the seven superspeedway races in 2020 was the traditional season kickoff event at Daytona, in which Michael Self scored his second win at the World Center of Racing for Venturini. The series returned from the pandemic break with a reshuffled schedule that began with a race at Talladega, where Drew Dollar triumphed for the first time in just his fifth career start with a win for No. 15 car owner Bill Venturini.
All eyes were on the next superspeedway race at Pocono, as relaxed age restrictions at the 2.5-mile "Tricky Triangle" meant that drivers under the age of 18 could get their first taste of superspeedway action. Sure enough, 17-year old Ty Gibbs stole the show with a dominating win for his father Coy’s No. 18 machine. Similar guidelines in place at the Kentucky Speedway two weeks later allowed Ty Gibbs to go back-to-back on the superspeedways following a duel with Holmes and Self.
The first Kansas date in July saw Holmes finally break through for his maiden ARCA Menards win in his 69th career start, propelling his father Stacy to the second spot in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings. No movement occurred at the top of the order when Riley Herbst delivered Coy Gibbs and the No. 18 team their third superspeedway win of the year at Michigan, and that was where the standings sat frozen until last week’s Speediatrics 150.
Driving a car from the Venturini Motorsports stable, youngster Corey Heim delivered his first career ARCA Menards Series win with Andy Hillenburg’s No. 10 on the side of his Craftsman-sponsored Toyota Camry. Ty Gibbs was stuck in the garage for 40 laps while his team made repairs to the No. 18 machine, allowing the battle for the Superspeedway Challenge trophy to be contested between Holmes and Self.
Holmes crossed the line in second while Self came home fifth and Gibbs in 14th, opening the door for No. 23 car owner Stacy Holmes to swoop in and steal the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship.
Crowning an ARCA Menards Series champion at @kansasspeedway in October ?
Check out the best photos from Friday’s season finale:
– ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) October 19, 2020
The No. 23 team scored 285 cumulative race points in the Superspeedway Challenge, enough to be five points better than the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports car and eight points ahead of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry.
Stacy Holmes became the 29th different car owner to be named the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge champion. Bret Holmes won one superspeedway race along the way, coming at Kansas in July, and racked up six top fives as well as seven top 10s in as many superspeedway starts.
Prior to 2020, the most recent single-car operation to win the Superspeedway Challenge was Ken Schrader Racing in 2017 with driver Austin Theriault, who like Holmes also won the overall series championship in the same year.