The ARCA Menards Series returned to Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon for the General Tire 200 after 3 months away from the track.
With COVID-19 still a major factor across the nation, series officials limited exposure across the garage area, therefore no qualifying was held for the event. Meaning, a random draw took place, which saw Venturini Motorsports driver, Ryan Repko take the pole position and Drew Dollar in the No. 15 start outside pole in second.
And with no qualifying in place, limited crew members at track, there was a halfway break (lap 39) that allowed teams to work on their cars and make the adjustments necessary to their liking, but no positions can be gained.
Dollar got the lead instantly from the get-go and had led every lap until that point. There were challenges from Riley Herbst, who tried to make a move to take the lead, but Dollar held the position not allowing Herbst to make the pass.
After the halfway break, Herbst was finally able to get the top spot from Dollar. As the laps winded down, all three Venturini cars (Michael Self and Ryan Repko) were in a small pack of five cars. Minding their time, the three drivers hoped to get that run on Herbst, and tried for a top three sweep. However, the teammates had trouble doing so. Dollar went to make a move on Herbst, but both made contact for the lead. The contact saw Dollar drop back to fifth in the running order and had to rethink his plan of attack.
As Dollar and the Venturini cars regrouped themselves, most of them got momentum back on their side and made another run at Herbst. Repko pushed Dollar to the lead, but Michael Self had trouble, when he made contact with Herbst in Turns 3 and 4 coming to the final lap. Self, did a 360 spin, but somehow avoided further contact and damage.
No yellow was thrown and Dollar pulled away from the field to score an emotional victory at Talladega, his first career win in ARCA.
“I definitely needed this one. I’m definitely out of breath right now,” Dollar said. “Venturini guys gave me the car out here today. Had the best team, had the best spotter in the stand in Joe White. He guided me through it. I lost a family member over the break so this is definitely emotional. This one’s for him. I know he’s watching from up above.”
Indeed it was an emotional win for Dollar and the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports crew.
As Dollar picked up the victory for the first time in his career, he doesn’t really know when the victory will set in for him.
“I don’t know, maybe on the way home,”Dollar said excitingly. “I’m going to have a lot of notifications on my phone when I get back to the hauler. Maybe, once I get through all those, it will (the win) will sink in.”
- Drew Dollar
- Ryan Repko
- Bret Holmes
- Riley Herbst
- Michael Self
- Thad Moffitt
- Hailie Deegan
- Jason Kitzmiller, 1 lap down
- Sean Corr, 2 laps down
- Ed Pompa, 2 laps down
- Scott Melton, 2 laps down
- Ryan Huff, 2 laps down
- Tanner Gray, 2 laps down
- Eric Caudell, 3 laps down
- Brandon Lynn, 7 laps down
- Gus Dean, OUT, Engine
- Tim Richmond, OUT, Engine
- Willie Mullins, OUT, Electrical
- Tommy Vigh JR, OUT, Vibration
- Brad Smith, OUT, Carburetor
- Con Nicolopoulous, OUT, Did Not Start, Engine
As for points standings, Michael Self leads Hailie Deegan by 12 points.
Up Next: The ARCA Menards Series will head northeast Friday June 26 for Round No. 4 at Pocono Raceway.