The final race of the 2022 ARCA Menards Series season arrives with one of the tightest championship points battles one will see.
After 19 events, just two championship points separate leader Nick Sanchez and second-place Daniel Dye in the standings. Which means, quite literally, anything can happen during Saturday’s Shore Lunch 200 at Toledo Speedway when it comes to crowning a champion.
The driver who sits third in the standings, Rajah Caruth, is 39 points out of the lead. With an expected car count of 24 at Toledo, that means Caruth is mathematically eliminated from title contention so long as both Sanchez and Dye show up for and start Saturday’s race.
Sanchez, who’s running his first full ARCA Menards Series season for Rev Racing and his third year in the series overall, has collected 882 points over 19 races on the strength of three victories.
And those three victories are crucial for Sanchez. Because Dye has not won a race in 2022, Sanchez by virtue of race victories would win any championship points tiebreaker. And there are plenty of scenarios in which Sanchez and Dye could end Saturday’s race with the same amount of championship points.
Dye, who’s also running his first full-time ARCA Menards Series season, finds himself in this position thanks to his consistency in the GMS Racing No. 43 Chevrolet all year. He has a series-high 17 top-10 finishes through 19 races. He also has led more laps than Sanchez in 2022, with 224 compared to his rival’s 113.
The winner of Saturday’s Shore Lunch 200 will receive 47 points (43 for finishing first, three bonus points for winning the race and one bonus point for leading a lap). There are also bonus points available for the driver who wins the General Tire Pole Award and the driver who leads the most laps in the race.
If bonus points were not a factor, Dye simply would need to finish three positions better than Sanchez to steal the championship. But the bonus points are a complicating element in the scenarios.
Based on a car count of 24 at Toledo, below are all of the points scenarios for both Sanchez and Dye depending upon where they finish in the Shore Lunch 200.
(Note: The points scenarios do not include the 50-point bonus drivers will receive for competing in all races that make up the final leg of the ARCA Menards Series season.)