Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/Terrible Herbst/ORCA Coolers/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) scored his first career ARCA Menards Series win with a last-lap pass of Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) in Saturday’s Day to Day Coffee 150 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Gibbs had the dominant car over the last third of race, but came down pit road under the final caution flag of the night with ten laps to go. When the race restarted with six laps to go, Gibbs was eighth but he knifed his way through the field to second within three laps. He stalked Mayer the final three laps, and the two made contact in the final corners and Mayer drifted up the track and Gibbs went on to the victory.
“I had a pretty big gap coming to the white flag and I gained on him in turns one and two,” Gibbs said. “He overdrove it into three and four and gave me that shot and we’re at a short track so you might as well take it. It’s for the win and that’s pretty big. It’s a hard deal, but it’s been a long day. We had a motor issue and we fought back and won. It just shows how hard my guys work.
“I come to the track every week with the same determination and mentality to win the race,” he continued. “Every single weekend we run as hard as we can. We are super excited to that that first win.”
Mayer ended up third, and was not thrilled with the events of the last lap.
“I didn’t get passed,” Mayer said. “We had a fifth or sixth place car and we ended up third, so that’s good. But we were leading at the white flag. The GMS Racing guys gave me a really great car and made great calls to give us chance to win the race. I am really happy to come out of here with a third-place finish, which is probably better than we were going to be without that last caution. But we didn’t get passed on the last lap, we got moved on the last lap.”
Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) was able to sneak past Mayer in turn four to take second behind Gibbs. Eckes immediately climbed aboard his Kyle Busch Motorsports-owned Truck to compete in the CarShield 200 for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He knew he didn’t have a shot to win without the last caution of the night, and his crew chief Kevin Reed made the only call he could to give him a chance to win.
“We had a great car but we weren’t going to catch Ty under green,” Eckes said. “We made the only call we could to pull off the win and we took it. We restarted second and finished second, so I guess it evened out. It was a great call by Kevin and the guys, and it was the only shot we had to win.”
Gibbs was joined post-race by his grandfather Joe Gibbs, team owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. The elder Gibbs is a member of the National Football Hall of Fame and is a 2020 inductee of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. While he has seen a lot of memorable moments in both sports, watching his grandson win for the first time was an emotional experience for the man everyone affectionately calls “Coach”.
“I’ve been lucky to see a lot of really special moments in both football and in racing, but this is up there near the top,” he said. “We had a lot of success in football, and I thought Denny (Hamlin) winning the Daytona 500 with J.D. on the car was as good as it could get. But this is really special. When that last caution came out and we restarted eighth I was just…I was really discouraged. But he did a great job. Coy (Gibbs, Ty’s father) was here tonight and it’s just special we can all be here to see this.”
Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) and Carson Hocevar (No. 28 GMPartsNow.com/Scott’s/KBR Development Chevrolet) rounded out the top five.
The race saw many challengers for the ARCA Menards Series championship fight bad luck. Leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) led the first 41 laps and was in contention for a top-five finish when he suffered a transmission issue on lap 87. Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Toyota) was involved in two spins, the first on lap 11 and the second on lap 68, damaging the car in the second incident. Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota), driving for the Venturini Motorsports team that leads the owner’s standings, was running among the lead pack when he broke an axle. Self finished 13th and unofficially maintains a 30-point advantage over Holmes, who finished tenth, and a 45-point advantage over seventh-place finisher Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) in third.
There were five cautions for 32 laps and the lead was traded seven times among seven drivers. Gibbs’s winning average speed was 97.773 miles per hour. His margin of victory over Eckes was 0.649 seconds.
The ARCA Menards Series returns to action on Thursday, June 28 in the Bounty 150 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Practice is scheduled to start at 1 pm ET/12 noon CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 5:35 pm ET/4:35 pm CT, and the 100-lap/150-mile feature event is set for 8 pm ET/7 pm CT. The race will be televised live on FS1; ARCA for Me users can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout each on-track session at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free at ARCARacing.com/login. Discounted tickets are available for just $10 at nearly 75 Chicagoland-area Menards locations until the close of business on Wednesday.