KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For Bret Holmes and Michael Self, it all comes down to one race.
Holmes and Self enter Friday’s ARCA Menards Series finale at Kansas Speedway separated by eight points in the battle for the series championship. Both men are chasing their first series championship, with each having taken a different route to this moment in their respective careers.
For Holmes, who enters the finale as the point leader, it’s been a difficult road to Friday’s race. Operating on a fraction of the budget that Self’s Venturini Motorsports team has, Holmes has run up front all season.
Conveniently for Holmes, he scored his only ARCA Menards Series victory at the 1.5-mile speedway earlier this season, setting him up well for the race to the championship.
“Definitely a lot of nerves going into this last race just knowing this is it,” Holmes admitted. “Everything before doesn’t matter. This race is all that’s left. I feel like we should have a little bit more of a cushion. I feel like we could have made a couple different decisions earlier in the season in some races and we would have been in a lot better position than we are.
“Luckily, we have the cushion that we do and it’s not by two or three points,” said Holmes, who will start the race from the outside pole. “Starting on the front row really helps and running like we did earlier this year at Kansas really helps. We’re going to try to do exactly what we did last race, keep it clean and I think that’s all that matters. I think we’ll be OK.”
Self enters Friday’s finale feeling a sense of déjà vu. He led the ARCA Menards Series standings for most of last season, only to lose the championship to teammate Christian Eckes during the season finale at Kansas.
The position is similar again this season for Self, who finds himself chasing Holmes as the ARCA season comes to a close.
“There is no plan. You just go win. That’s all we can do. We’re in a nothing-to-lose situation,” Self said. “The worst part is we crash, and we still finish second in the points. We need to do by any means, as a team at Venturini Motorsports, whatever has to be done to go win.”
From a consistency standpoint, Self’s season has been better than last year. While he’s only won twice this year versus four victories a year ago, his average finish is 5.2 compared to 6.5 last year. By contrast, Holmes has an average finish of 4.7 this year.
It all adds up to Self being the surprising underdog entering Friday’s finale. He finished sixth earlier this year when the series visited Kansas Speedway, a finish Self hopes to improve upon in his pursuit of the title.
“We’ve made progress on our program since then,” Self said. “Our cars have gotten a little bit better. I think we’ve identified some things that will continue to be better, at least we think we have.”
Below are all the championship scenarios for Holmes and Self ahead of Friday’s ARCA Menards Series Speediatrics 150 at Kansas Speedway, which will be broadcast live by FS1 at 6 p.m. E.T.
Bret Holmes enters Kansas with 910 points. Michael Self enters Kansas with 902 points.
Maximum points to be earned at Kansas is 48 (no bonus point for qualifying on the pole will be awarded).
Tie breaker is: enter and compete (both will have 20), wins (Self leads 2 to 1 entering Kansas). There is no scenario where there would be a tie if Holmes wins, so any tie would go to Self (2 wins to 1).
If Holmes finishes ahead of Self, no matter the position, Holmes wins the championship.
Holmes can earn a maximum of 958 points with a win, leading a lap, and leading the most laps.
Self can earn a maximum of 950 points, leading a lap, and leading the most laps.
If Self wins and leads the most laps and earns his maximum 950 points, Holmes will need to finish second (952 points) or third (951 points) without leading a lap to win.
If Self wins and leads the most laps and earns his maximum 950 points, Holmes will need to finish fourth or higher (951 points) and lead at least one lap to win.
If Self wins but does not lead the most laps, he will earn 949 points. Holmes will need to finish fourth (950 points) without leading a lap to win.
If Self wins but does not lead the most laps, he will earn 949 points. If Holmes leads at least one lap he needs to finish fifth (950 points) to win.
If Self wins but does not lead the most laps, he earns 949 points. If Holmes leads the most laps he needs to finish sixth (950 points) or higher to win.
If Self does not win, he needs to finish six positions ahead of Holmes and lead the most laps to tie. Self wins any possible tie breakers.
If Self does not win, leads a lap, but does not lead the most laps, he needs to finish seven positions ahead of Holmes to tie. Self wins any possible tie breakers.
If Self does not win and neither driver leads a lap, he needs to finish eight positions ahead of Holmes to tie. Self wins any possible tie breakers.
If Self does not win and Holmes leads a lap, he needs to finish nine positions ahead of Holmes to tie. Self wins any possible tie breakers.
If Self does not win and Holmes leads the most laps, he needs to finish ten positions ahead of Holmes to tie. Self wins any possible tie breakers.