Championship Contenders Have Seen Success - and Struggles - En Route to Title at Kansas Speedway

Championship Contenders Have Seen Success - and Struggles - En Route to Title at Kansas Speedway

The fight for the 2019 ARCA Menards Series championship is the closest in recent seasons. Just 20 points separate leader Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) from second-place Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) heading into the final race of the season, the ARCA Kansas 150 at Kansas Speedway.

This year's race will mark the eighth time the ARCA Menards Series championship has been decided at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval. In those previous seven races, championship contenders have had success but some have also found the road to be a tough one.

In 2012, Alex Bowman won the race but Chris Buescher won the war. Buescher finished eighth, good enough to close the season with a 75-point advantage over then nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel, who finished sixth.

In 2013, Kimmel clinched his tenth series championship with his record-setting 80th career ARCA Menards Series win. Kimmel dominated the day, leading 31 laps, and the championship, finishing 365 points ahead of runner-up Mason Mingus.

Spencer Gallagher gave GMS Racing its first ARCA Menards Series win in 2014, leading 53 laps en route to the win from the 32nd starting position. Mason Mitchell clinched the series championship with a fifth-place finish, ending the season 255 points ahead of 17th-place finisher Grant Enfinger, who was sidelined with eight laps to go due to a crash.

Mitchell didn't repeat as champion in 2015 but he did visit victory lane in the season finale. Enfinger locked up his first series championship with a third-place run, winding up 425 points ahead of runner-up Austin Wayne Self. Self, no relation to current ARCA Menards Series title contender Michael Self, finished 12th.

Chase Briscoe put an exclamation point on his 2016 series championship with a win in the season finale at Kansas, leading 67 laps and winning by 1.5 seconds over runner-up Austin Cindric. Briscoe decimated the competition, winning the championship by 535 points over Tom Hessert III.

Austin Theriault had a dream season driving for Ken Schrader Racing in 2017, winning seven times and winning the championship by 300 points over runner-up Dalton Sargeant. Kansas, however, wasn't so kind to Therialt as he racked up his only "DNF" of the season after a crash on lap 54, leaving him 25th at the end of the night.

Sheldon Creed, the 2018 series champion, also crashed in the season finale at Kansas Speedway. Creed was fortunate though, as his crew made quick repairs to his beaten and battered car, getting him back out with a racecar not only good enough to stay on the lead lap but good enough to win. Creed won by one second over Harrison Burton. Creed's teammate Zane Smith finished second in the standings but was 17th at the finish due to a crash. Creed finished 460 points ahead of Smith to become the 35th different series champion.

A win is worth 235 points, while second place is worth 220, with each position below that descending in five-point increments. There are five bonus points available for leading at least one lap, leading the most laps, and qualifying on the General Tire Pole.

The ARCA Kansas 150 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway will close the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season on Friday, October 18. Practice opens the day at 1 pm ET/12 n CT followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 6 pm ET/5 pm CT. The 100-lap/150-mile feature event will go green at 8:30 pm ET/7:30 pm CT and will be shown live on FS2 with an immediate replay on FS1. ARCA for Me members can follow live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout all on-track sessions free at New users can register for free with a valid email address at