Sam Mayer capitalized on Ty Gibbs’s misfortune to take home his second ARCA Menards East Series victory of the 2020 season. Gibbs’s misfortune came with 15 to go when he made hard contact with the wall off Turn 2 after what appeared to be a right-front tire go down. Despite Gibbs’ issue, Wisconsin native, Mayer, had already grabbed the lead with less than 25 to go and came home with the victory.
“I got a really, really good restart and I don’t think he (Ty Gibbs) expected me too,” Mayer said. “We got a really good restart and was able to get inside of him, and he took the air off my door. You know, if you’re the leader, you have the right to do that because you want to keep the lead obviously. You expect to get a good restart, but when you don’t, you have to fight for it.”
“I understand that and I ended up giving it right back to him. I packed his air under his spoiler and he (Gibbs) got a little bit loose, he was able to gather it up and I let him go because I got a little bit tight under him. So, it was pretty much a whole aerodynamic mess under that restart. It was a lot of fun though. That’s how I ended up getting by Ty (Gibbs) is packing the air under his spoiler and getting loose, side draft him and clear myself into (Turn) 1. It was a really good car, I can’t thank GMS Racing enough.”
The General Tire 125 from Dover International Speedway consisted of three segment breaks. The first came on Lap 35, the second on Lap 70, and the checkered flag on Lap 125.
Through the first two segments, there were some drivers who were off the pace. Rookie of the Year contender, Nick Sanchez, had his motor expire and he had to leave the race early. Sanchez was credited with a 16th place finish. One other competitor who was off the pace as well was Justin S. Carroll in the No. 91 Toyota. Carroll went behind the wall on Lap 26 and would not return. The Virginia native ended up placing 14th in the final results.
Meanwhile, with Gibbs out front and checking out, there was some intense action between Venturini Motorsports teammates, Drew Dollar and Mason Diaz. The two drivers were racing each other hard and both nearly crashed off Turn 4 at one point. Thankfully, both would keep on racing for position.
Loose continued to be the word of the day in the General Tire 125. Multiple drivers such as Taylor Gray and race winner Sam Mayer were loose early on. Unfortunately for Gray, he fought an ill-handling car and fell off the pace. Gray hit the wall a couple of times off Turn 4, ruining a good finish as the DGR-Crosley driver came home ninth, the last car on the lead lap.
After the two segments were completed through Lap 70, the action really picked up when the third and final segment got underway.
Mayer and Gibbs got loose on Lap 76 in Turns 1 and 2 which almost made them both wreck and take each other out of contention. During that moment, Mayer received some slight damage from contact with Gibbs’s left-rear quarter panel. Gibbs was able to keep on racing and so did Mayer, but Mayer regrouped and passed Gibbs for the lead with 20 to go.
Just a few laps later, Gibbs’s accident occurred which prompted ARCA Menards Series officials to display the red flag for clean up. Fortunately for Gibbs, he was unhurt after his hard hit with the wall.
An 11-lap dash to the finish ensued but no one proved to be a match for Mayer as he scored the checkered flag.
While Mayer enjoyed his victory, DGR-Crosley team owner David Gilliland, made a special cameo appearance driving in his own No. 54 Ford. Gilliland brought his car home to a second-place finish.
“We came up a little bit short,” Gilliland said. “Sam (Mayer) and those No. 21 guys had a heck of a race car. It was a lot of fun to get back in and race in the ARCA Menards Series. Obviously, I am a huge supporter of it (the series) on the ownership side. I watched my son (Todd Gilliland) raced in it. But, this is my first one (race). We had a fast Ford, just came up a little bit short.”
There were three cautions for 10 laps and one lead change among two different leaders.
Official Results following the General Tire 125.
- Sam Mayer, led 21 laps
- David Gilliland
- Mason Diaz
- Max McLaughlin
- Drew Dollar
- Corey Heim
- Parker Retzlaff
- Chase Cabre
- Taylor Gray
- Chuck Buchanan JR, 9 laps down
- Kyle Sieg, 9 laps down
- Ty Gibbs, OUT, Accident
- Ed Pompa, 59 laps down
- Justin S. Carroll, OUT, Mechanical
- Tommy Vigh Jr, OUT, Electrical
- Nick Sanchez, OUT, Mechanical
- Joe Graf Jr, OUT, Mechanical
Sam Mayer leads Ty Gibbs by 13 points in the championship points standings.
Up Next: The ARCA Menards East Series will visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 12 for Round No. 4 of the 2020 season.