2020 has certainly been a year to remember. While the COVID-19 pandemic halted racing for the most part in March and April, there was plenty of racing to follow once racing resumed in May and June.
Today, as we look forward to putting 2020 behind us, we take a look at the past year in this edition of “By the Numbers” on Speed51.
0: The number of races Casey Johnson won on the way to his second consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour championship and fourth straight TUNDRA championship. Johnson was a model of consistency with three top fives and five top-10 finishes in five Midwest Tour races, giving him an average finish of 5.6. He also recorded five top fives and six top-10 finishes in six TUNDRA starts, giving him an average finish of 3.66.
2: Stephen Nasse became the second driver to win two Southern Super Series championships. Nasse was the champion in 2017 and 2020.
2.5: The Oxford 250 was held with only 2.5% grandstand capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions. After years of trying, Johnny Clark scored an elusive victory in the Super Late Model crown jewel.
3: Cody Coughlin claimed three JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour victories, including the season finale at Winchester, on his way to claiming the series title for the third time in his career.
5: DJ Shaw claimed his third consecutive and fifth career PASS North championship in 2020. Surprisingly, Shaw went winless in the first 11 races before winning at Thompson in October. Shaw also finished second in the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) point standings.
8: Ty Majeski collected eight Late Model wins in only 11 starts during the 2020 season. Majeski’s major wins included the Snowball Derby, Oktoberfest 200, Slinger Nationals, Rattler 250 and Gandrud Auto Group 250. He also claimed a victory in the South Carolina 250 while making his first career Late Model Stock Car start.
9: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour held nine events in 2020, with a drastically altered schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.. Justin Bonsignore won three times and finshed in the top five every race en route to his second tour championship.
9: The ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series posted nine winners in 13 events. At season’s end, though, it was once again Zack Mitchell taking the championship for the third consecutive year.
11: Josh Brock’s 11th-place finish in the Winchester 400 clinched his second career ARCA/CRA Super Series championship. Brock didn’t win a race in 2020, but he finished no worse than 13th in 10 series starts.
13: Bubba Pollard has won at least one Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway for 13 straight seasons. What people don’t see on the surface of that stat is that the track only hosts four or five events a year during that time. Pollard is the Blizzard Series king with 22 wins and four championships, including one this past season.
15: According to our records, Matt Hirschman won at least 15 Modified races during the COVID-shortened season. His wins included the Race of Champions 250 at Lake Erie, Richie Evans Memorial at New Smyrna and SBM 125 at Star Speedway. He also collected championships with the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing and Evergreen Raceway.
19: The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing produced another Super Late Model champion, making it 19 champions in 19 seasons with the crowning of Derek Griffith. This year, they will seek a 20th different champion in 20 seasons.
35: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour presented 35 lead changes in the September 12 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Despite it not being a record, it was only the fifth time there have been 30 plus lead changes in 72 prior events.
36: There have been 36 different winners in the history of the Granite State Pro Stock Series, with Wyatt Alexander joining the series’ list of winners at Beech Ridge this year. Next year, the series will hold its 100th race in what is the 11th year of the series.
46: Some drivers race their whole life to win 46 times. Kyle Larson won 46 times this year. Larson found himself back in the short track world this year and he used every opportunity he had to win races. In June, he won eight races in a row to help aid a hot summer that led him to an average finish of 4.10. He also only had four DNF’s in 98 races. Larson ended the season by winning the Carolina Midget Showdown at Millbridge Speedway in December.
51.6%: Derek Thorn had a fine season in 2020. He won eight of the nine SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour events and won yet another championship. Along the way, he pushed his win total to 49 wins in the series in 95 starts. He’s won over half the races he ran in the series. It’s not location either because he came east and dominated the Snowball Derby before finishing second, while also leading a ton of laps at the All American 400.
252: Derek Thorn led a race-high, record setting 252 laps at the Snowball Derby and failed to win. Thorn becomes the 20th driver to lead over 100 laps in a single event and not win the race.
576: The number of laps Carson Hocevar led en route to big wins in the Redbud 400 and Winchester 400.
COVID-19: You can’t really put a number on how many races we lost in 2020 because of the changes that were quickly accepted. At one point in time we saw the number of about 40% of the events going by the way side. One of our unofficial partners, TheThirdTurn.com, stated that they posted 2500 fewer events this year than last. They also are adding new series each year, but at least it gives us a gauge. At the same time, from March 16 to May 5 the site has no recorded races from series or tracks. In order to find a gap like that in their history you’d have to go all the way back to the 1940s. That shows the full impact of COVID on racing in 2020.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Stat Boy
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo