Sanchez spoils the party at Kansas, Gibbs wins ARCA Championship

Kansas City, KS – After a dominant race by the 2021 ARCA Menards Series champion, Ty Gibbs, a late-race caution played spoiler. In a green-white-checkered flag finish at the 1.5-mile speedway, the victory went to Nick Sanchez who rallied to claim his first-ever ARCA series victory in just 21 starts.

“This win is pretty surreal,” Sanchez said. “I feel like there should have been other times this year where we should have been in victory lane and I’m just glad we were able to capitalize off this season.”

As Sanchez celebrated his victory, there was another career first. Ty Gibbs won his first ARCA Menards Series championship Saturday night at Kansas Speedway. With the help of 10 career race wins in 2021 and only 24 cars entering the race, all Gibbs had to do to clinch the championship was start the race and take the green flag, barring any mechanical failures.

When the green flag flew, Gibbs became the champion but still had a race to win. The 18-year-old started on the pole and led his closest competitor Corey Heim to the green. Gibbs had a rocket ship No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota and led all the laps to the competition caution on Lap 50. In fact, Gibbs’ car was fast enough that he had lapped up to third place prior to the yellow flying at halfway.

After the halfway point, a light mist began to fall in the area causing the race to be delayed slightly with laps run under caution. Following the 15-lap yellow flag, the race was restarted with 35 laps to go with Gibbs, Sanchez and Heim starting up front. Despite the long yellow, Gibbs continued to have the strongest car and led until a caution flew with five laps to go for the No. 7 of Eric Caudell.

The late-race caution set up a two-lap dash to the finish with Gibbs and Sanchez on the front row. Sanchez powered to the front of Gibbs as Gibbs tried to chase him down on the back straightaway. Knowing he would have one last show at the win, the North Carolina native was looking to make a move on Sanchez out of Turn 4, but Gibbs came up just short of scoring his 11th career victory of the season.

Gibbs became the 37th different ARCA Menards Series Champion in series history. Earlier in the day prior to the ARCA race, Gibbs also won the NASCAR Xfinity Series event.

Gibbs became the 37th different ARCA Menards Series Champion in series history. Earlier in the day prior to the ARCA race, Gibbs also won the NASCAR Xfinity Series event.

“It was a wonderful day. You know I wish we could have won the (ARCA) race but that’s part of it,” Gibbs said. “Sometimes you’re going to win and sometimes you’re going to lose these things at the end of them. More importantly, we were thinking big picture of winning the championship and we can home with it.”

There were two cautions for 21 laps and two lead changes among two different leaders.

Official Race Results following the Reese’s 150 at Kansas Speedway.

  1. Nick Sanchez, led two laps
  2. Ty Gibbs, led 99 laps
  3. Corey Heim, led one lap
  4. Drew Dollar
  5. JP Bergeron
  6. Kris Wright, 1 lap down
  7. Kyle Sieg, 1 lap down
  8. Dean Thompson, 1 lap down
  9. Rajah Caruth, 1 lap down
  10. Parker Chase, 2 laps down
  11. Connor Mosack, 2 laps down
  12. Scott Melton, 2 laps down
  13. Andy Jankowiak, 2 laps down
  14. Greg Van Alst, 2 laps down
  15. Ron Vandermeir Jr, 3 laps down
  16. Toni Breidinger, 4 laps down
  17. Zachary Tinkle, 8 laps down
  18. D.L. Wilson, 8 laps down
  19. Eric Caudell, 10 laps down
  20. Arnout Kok, OUT, Rear End
  21. Kyle Lockrow, OUT, Engine
  22. Tony Consentino, OUT, Brakes
  23. Brad Smith, OUT, Vibration
  24. Wayne Peterson, OUT, Did Not Start

Up Next: The ARCA Menards Series 2021 season is now complete and the series will turn its focus to the 2022 season. However, the ARCA Menards West Series still has one more race to go that is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, live on Trackpass.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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