The ARCA Menards Series visited Toledo Speedway for the second and final time of the 2019 season and it was all Chandler Smith who took home the trophy. Smith took the lead on the restart on lap 37 until the rain fell on lap 152. ARCA officials called the race official due to a wet track and a wet forecast for the rest of the day.
This was Smith’s first ARCA win of the season.
“Dude, I was driving the wheels off it the whole race,” Smith excitedly said in post race interview with MAVTV. “Even if it went green the rest of the way, we were on rails. These Venturini guys put on a heck of a car for me. I can’t thank Venturini Motorsports, Craftsman, all these guys that make it happen for me. We have been working our tails off all year trying to get this win, but to be honest, all the tracks we’ve been too Nashville to Pensacola all the tracks, we’ve been off and today we really hit the nail on the head. I definitely think we’ve made a statement here today.”
His Venturini Motorsports teammate Michael Self sat on the pole, thus extending the teams streak of poles this year ever since the season started at Daytona. Smith started alongside Self in the second position.
It didn’t take long for Smith and the No. 20 Craftsman Toyota to challenge for the lead. Already early on, he took the lead on lap 13, before another lead change happened. There was a thrilling battle for first with Self, Ty Gibbs and of course Smith.
The first caution of the day took place on lap 30 for future NASCAR superstar Hailie Deegan and Joe Graf Jr (Making Select Xfinity Starts for Richard Childress Racing this season) got together in Turns 3 and 4 after Tanner Gray accidentally bumped them, which sent them sliding up to the safer barriers.
The next caution took place on lap 78 for points leader Travis Braden, who wrecked in Turn 1 and wound up destroying the car, thus ending his day early.
There was a unique twist to the ARCA race as modified live pit stops were seen. It’s nothing different when seen in other series, but to understand it better, here’s a quote from the live session feed on ARCAracing.com. “Drivers who choose to pit will restart in the same order as they entered pit road. They will restart behind cars that choose not to pit. Can only lose position on pit road if you lose a lap.”
Nothing significant happened during those modified live stops. As Smith was putting a beating on the field, the rest of the field including his No. 20 Venturini team was keeping an eye on the weather that was threatening toward the track.
The first signs of weather occurred a little after halfway on lap 112, as the caution came out for rain.
After a short caution for rain, the race was able to get back going for about 34 laps until rains came again. This time, the rain was a little bit heavier and the ARCA Menards Series does not have Air Titans like NASCAR does. In fact, they still use the old Jet Dryer to dry the track. However, with a track that has no lights and more rain in the forecast for the rest of the day, ARCA Series officials called it official on lap 152 or 50 to go.
With that in mind, another future NASCAR star, Chandler Smith was declared the winner of the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway.
It was Smith’s first win of the 2019 season.
“Dude, it’s the whole team, all of Venturini,” Smith told MAVTV in talking about the win. “It wasn’t just one person. Everybody is a team, it’s everybody. You know, you got Billy (Venturini, Owner/General Manager of Venturini Motorsports) and you got me, and we have really good chemistry together. All the guys on pit road, all the way back to the people that work on a weekly basis at Venturini Motorsports. Hats off to all them guys, just thank you so much. Thank you to everyone back at home, thank you guys for watching, thank you for all the support. I can’t wait to get back home. We’re bringing back the hardware this time.”
With this win, Smith is now the points leader of the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge.
Ty Gibbs, grandson of NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs wound up second, 1.136 seconds behind race winner Chandler Smith.
“Yeah, I think I could have caught him (Chandler Smith),” Gibbs told MAVTV in regards to trying to catch the leader. “You know that last caution, it started raining before the last caution, whatever caution that was, the last one. That kind of hurt us there. The short run speed was not the best, but our long run speed was pretty good. I think we were reeling him in there. You know, it sucks to be second, three times this year. But it’s fun, I am having a blast at here learning a lot, so we’ll go down to the next race at Madison.”
- Chandler Smith
- Ty Gibbs
- Christian Eckes
- Michael Self
- Sam Mayer
- Carson Hocevar
- Bret Holmes
- Tanner Gray
- Tommy Vigh Jr
- Corey Heim- Broken Valve Spring
- Tim Richmond
- Alex Clubb- Out
- Travis Braden- Out
- Rick Clifton- Out
- Dick Doheny- Out
- Mike Basham- Out
- Joe Graf Jr- Out
- Hailie Deegan- Out
Up Next: The ARCA Menards Series have a short turnaround as they head east to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a rare Thursday night event.