18 races down, two remaining. Five points separate two drivers for the championship. That’s what we’re down to for the 2019 ARCA Menards Racing Series season. Saturday’s Herr’s 200 (8 p.m. ET/MAVTV) at the Lucas Oil Raceway will be a pivotal race to see who’s going to be crowned champion in two weeks at the Kansas Speedway.
It’s Venturini Racing vs. Venturini Racing.
At the start of the season, it looked like Eckes would be the one to beat. He finished fourth in his No. 15 Toyota at Daytona and third in Five Flags. Then, the night before the first Salem race, he had food poisoning. It was so bad, he was hospitalized and he missed the race. That combined with a 26th place finish at Talladega put him behind in the standings.
He’d make a heck of a comeback though.
Eckes, has three wins and four runner-ups since May including five straight top two finishes to close his deficit to five points.
Meanwhile, it’s not like Self has been that bad. He won two of the first three races on the season and has scored six top four finishes in his last seven tries. But, it was Eckes’ top two’s and Self’s 14th place finish in the last race at Salem that opened the door for a realistic chance that Eckes could take home the title despite one less start.
Self has four wins this season, two on paved short tracks, one on a dirt mile, and one on an intermediate superspeedway. In ten short track starts he has eight top-five finishes, with a 4.9 average finish. He’s led at least one lap in five short track races, led the most laps in two more, for 35 bonus points, and earned one General Tire Pole Award for another five bonus points giving him a total of 40 short track bonus points. His average start on short tracks is 4.1. Self scores an average of 210.5 points per short track race.
Eckes has three wins this season, one on a paved short track, one on a dirt mile, and one on an intermediate superspeedway. In eight starts on short tracks – he missed the first race at Salem in April due to illness – he has seven top-five finishes with a 3.5 average finish. He has led at least one lap in four short track races for 20 bonus points, led the most laps in two races for ten more bonus points, and earned one General Tire Pole Award for another five, giving him a total of 35 bonus points on the short tracks. His average start on short tracks is 3.6. In nine short track races in 2019, Eckes has earned an average of 218.8 points per race.
The two have gone head-to-head at Lucas Oil Raceway one previous time, in 2018, when Eckes won from the pole and Self started and finished eleventh.