NASCAR and ARCA announced Wednesday the addition of a new format that will include four championships beginning in 2020, as well as ARCA’s acquisition of what has been the K&N Pro Series East and West, which will be rebranded ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West.
Per a joint NASCAR and ARCA media release, the four championships for 2020 will be:
* Replacing the existing NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, the new ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West will continue the traditions established by the Busch North Series (founded in 1987) and Pacific Coast Late Model Series/Winston West (1954), as well as the K&N Series. The two series will feature an annual schedule of six to eight races each and the crowning of separate regional champions.
* ARCA Menards Series – The 20-race ARCA Menards Series, founded in 1953, a mix of national-series combination events at venues such as Daytona International Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as short tracks like Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin and the Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt tracks.
* ARCA Racing Series Showdown – The new championship will see 10 races within the larger ARCA Menards Series — essentially a championship within a championship — that will feature the best of the three series (competitors from the Menards Series as well as Menards East and Menards West) coming together to crown a Showdown champion.
“We cannot be more excited about 2020,” said Brandon Thompson, Managing Director, NASCAR Touring Series. “Both NASCAR and ARCA have worked extremely hard over the last year (NASCAR acquired ARCA in April 2018) to provide a rules package and schedule that will serve as the foundation for the preeminent series for racing at this level. It was important for us to move the series forward while creating an environment inclusive for both the current long-term owners and drivers in the series as well as aspiring competitors.”
Added ARCA President Ron Drager, “What first started as a friendship between Bill France Sr. and John Marcum nearly 70 years ago took a momentous step forward today. The amount of history and tradition these series are bringing together to form four elite championships for drivers is an amazing testament to the strength of this sport.
“We are proud and honored to be able to bring the ARCA sanction to the East and West Series; and we are looking forward to working with the race teams, tracks, media partners, fans, and sponsors that have helped those series achieve their long term success.”
In addition to ARCA being a development step for young drivers aspiring to reach the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, ARCA will also continue to provide a highly-competitive professional avenue for veteran short-track drivers.
NBCSN will continue to carry the ARCA Menards Series East and West as part of its extensive NASCAR coverage. MAVTV and FOX Sports will share televising of the 20 ARCA Menards Series races, including the 10-race Showdown.
As for other highlights of Wednesday’s announcement:
* The 2020 ARCA Menards Series begins Saturday, Feb. 8 at Daytona with the Lucas Oil 200. It will mark the 57th annual ARCA visit to Daytona.
* The Showdown begins with ARCA’s inaugural visit to ISM Raceway in Phoenix on March 6.
* The ARCA Menards West Series begins at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Other West dates also include traditional events at Irwindale Speedway and Sonoma Raceway, and will crown its champion at ISM Raceway in November.
* The East will race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, as well as Toledo Speedway, Watkins Glen International, and again be part New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend. The East season will culminate with the championship race at Dover International Speedway.
* In addition to Daytona and Charlotte, the ARCA Menards Series schedule will include Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Pocono Raceway, and finish the season at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 16.
* The Showdown 10-race schedule features Salem Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Minnesota’s Elko Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and will crown its first Showdown champion at Memphis Motorsports Park on Sept. 26.
Complete schedules for all four championships will be announced shortly.
NASCAR also announced if a current K&N East and West or current ARCA Menards Series car owner has a car that meets the 2019 rulebook, there will be a rules package that will allow them to compete in 2020.