Seven-Race Format Features Short-Track Gauntlet
TOLEDO, Ohio. - The ARCA Menards Series East officially enters a new era with a seven-race slate in 2020 that will provide a mix of short-track showcases and national series companion events. The compact stand-alone schedule will also allow for the opportunity for competitors to compete for the new 10-race ARCA Series Showdown championship.
The East season will kick off as the main event of the 54th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway on Monday, Feb. 10. The champion will be crowned on Saturday, Sept. 12 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend.
Sam Mayer captured the 2019 East title, becoming the youngest national or regional series champion in NASCAR history. He’s already counting down the days until the green flag at New Smyrna.
"I am looking forward to returning to the East series to defend my title in 2020," Mayer said. "I had so much fun racing in that series this year and learned so much at every race. The competition was tough, and I’m sure it will be even better next year. With the series combining, it will give me the opportunity to race against some new drivers and become more competitive. Hopefully we can go out and win a bunch of races and take home another East series championship."
"We are really looking forward to being a part of the new East series with Sam Mayer," said Keith Barnwell, GMS Racing manager of driver development and special projects. "This will be a great series for young drivers to hone their skills and prepare for the next phase of their careers. We consider the East series like our home games, and when we travel for the Showdown it will be like home and away. We are looking for the opportunity to defend our home races and our title."
With the blending of the ARCA Menards Series with the newly renamed ARCA Menards Series East and West, and a consolidated rulebook to go along with it, opportunities now exist for traditional ARCA Menards Series teams to test the waters in the East Series. One team looking to do just that is the ARCA Menards Series reigning championship team, Venturini Motorsports.
"This is a great schedule with excellent spacing between events," said Venturini Motorsports co-owner Billy Venturini. "Our team will continue to compete in the ARCA Menards Series, as we have since 1982, but this schedule gives us the flexibility to run these seven races as well. It’s great to be able to offer this to the young drivers we are working with in 2020 and beyond."
Other schedule highlights include:
- New Smyrna will host the season opener for the seventh consecutive season. The high-banked half-mile is just 10 miles from Daytona International Speedway, and the World Series runs parallel to DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth at the "World Center of Racing." Daytona will be the site of the opener of ARCA’s 68th season, with the Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire on Saturday, Feb. 8.
- A pair of tracks that have hosted both East and ARCA races will be featured on the ARCA Menards Series East calendar: Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, and Michigan’s Berlin Raceway. Five Flags is the home of the Super Late Model showcase annually in December, the Snowball Derby. The quick half-mile will be the second race on the East schedule on Saturday, March 14. Berlin is the home track of former NASCAR Gander Trucks champion Johnny Benson, and has been integral in the early careers of other NASCAR Hall of Famers such as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin.
- Toledo Speedway will also transition from the ARCA Menards Series on Saturday, May 16 to give the series a cornerstone event in the Midwest. Toledo’s high-speed half-mile will give a great test for the East drivers and teams. The race will now be the headline event of a full Saturday of racing activity at the popular Glass City oval.
- The series will be part of two short-track national series weekends: Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 4, and Dover International Speedway on Friday, Aug. 21. Bristol, the "World’s Fastest Half-Mile," was swept by Mayer in 2019. Dover moves to the penultimate race on the East schedule as part of the larger national series schedule re-organization for 2020.
The ARCA Showdown will feature 10 events with a separate points championship, and will include a number of traditional East race dates, including the annual combination races at Iowa Speedway and WWT Raceway at Gateway.
The complete NBCSN schedule for the ARCA Menards Series East, including broadcast times, will be released at a later date.
2020 ARCA Menards Series East Schedule
|Monday, Feb. 10||New Smyrna Speedway||New Smyrna Beach, Fla.|
|Saturday, March 14||Five Flags Speedway||Pensacola, Fla.|
|Saturday, April 4||Bristol Motor Speedway||Bristol, Tenn.|
|Saturday, May 16||Toledo Speedway||Toledo, Ohio|
|Saturday, July 25||Berlin Raceway||Marne, Mich.|
|Friday, Aug. 21||Dover International Speedway||Dover, Del.|
|Saturday, Sept. 12||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||Loudon, N.H.|
2020 ARCA Showdown Schedule
|Friday, March 6||ISM Raceway||Avondale, Ariz.|
|Sunday, April 19||Salem Speedway||Salem, Ind.|
|Friday, May 29||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||Lexington, Ohio|
|Friday, July 3||Lucas Oil Raceway||Brownsburg, Ind.|
|Saturday, July 11||Elko Speedway||Elko, Minn.|
|Friday, July 17||Iowa Speedway||Newton, Iowa|
|Saturday, Aug. 1||WWT Raceway at Gateway||Madison, Ill.|
|Friday, Aug. 14||Watkins Glen International||Watkins Glen, N.Y.|
|Thursday, Sept. 17||Bristol Motor Speedway||Bristol, Tenn.|
|Saturday, Sept. 26||Memphis International Raceway||Millington, Tenn.|