Under a hot steamy day in the Indianapolis region, Lucas Oil Raceway hosted the fifth race of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season. With a limited capacity of spectators on site to watch drivers take on the famed race track, fans watched Chandler Smith, the Talking Rock, Georgia native go back to back at Lucas Oil Raceway with a dominating victory.
Smith started on the pole but didn’t really take the lead until 39 laps in as he beat and banged with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs. Eventually, Smith never looked back and scored his second victory at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“Man, I was just running for all of us, to be honest,” Smith said about the victory when Sam Mayer closed in late to MAV TV. “It’s a hot night. This is my second or third ARCA race of the year. I feel like, I’m not in the best shape I need to be. Hats off to my JBL guys, who recovered from practice earlier, I’m proud of these guys. Thanks to General Tire for holding up on these tires, they’re really good. I’m just glad to be finally back in victory lane.”
Two halfway breaks on Lap 70 and Lap 140 made up the Calypso Lemonade 200.
Ty Gibbs led early on through the first 39 laps, but Smith sat back in the top three and idled to make the right move, at the right time. Smith leaned on the Gibbs car and took the top spot on Lap 39. From there, he kept the pace and managed the lead. He led the field to the first race break on Lap 70. Taylor Gray, who was making his ARCA debut, impressed early by running in the top five.
As the five-minute clock began for teams to work on the cars, Smith’s car could not refire on the first go. The Venturini Motorsports team had to then push start the No. 20 Toyota to get it going again. Though, there was an actual fire behind the dash. Despite the problem, the issue did not appear to affect Smith once the event restarted on lap 74.
Another team faced an issue and that was the No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing crew. Derek Griffith was penalized for having too many men over the wall.
Once the green flag flew again, Taylor Gray was once again being aggressive and trying to make his name known. Sam Mayer in the No. 21 GMS Racing entry accidentally made contact with Gray off Turn 4, which sent Gray sideways on the frontstretch. Impressively, the North Carolina native saved his car from any major damage and kept on going in the top five.
While Gray was able to save his car, Gibbs had to come down pit road on Lap 88 for a potential electrical issue, which took him out of a second-place running position. The electrical issue was later diagnosed as an alternator problem. This relegated Gibbs to a 15th place finishing position and he was unable to finish the race.
A few moments later on Lap 127, Gray pushed the DGR-Crosley car to its limits and spun in Turn 2 after battling Michael Self. With the yellow, this set up a five-lap dash to the final race break on Lap 140. Smith also led at that break as well. Mayer, Deegan, Self, Griffith, Thad Moffitt, Gray, Bret Holmes, Drew Dollar, and Mike McLaughlin were the top 10 at lap 140.
The restart came on Lap 144, but there was really no one who could challenge him throughout the long green-flag run until 15 to go. Mayer started to reel in the No. 20 for the race lead. In fact, he caught Smith and was side by side with him for a few laps. However, the Wisconsin native could have pushed too early, as Mayer started to slip back and Smith improved his lead once again.
Ultimately, Smith brought home his second ARCA victory of 2020, and the ninth of his career.
“Just running laps,” Smith told MAV TV. “Honestly, it was just like practice laps, logging laps.”
Smith led 162 of the scheduled 200 laps.
There were three cautions for 15 laps and two lead changes among two leaders.
- Chandler Smith
- Sam Mayer
- Hailie Deegan
- Taylor Gray
- Thad Moffitt
- Max McLaughlin
- Bret Holmes, 1 lap down
- Michael Self, 2 laps down
- Howie DiSavino III, 3 laps down
- Kyle Sieg, 4 laps down
- Brian Finney, 10 laps down
- Derek Griffith, 12 laps down
- Justin S. Carroll, 14 laps down
- Drew Dollar, 15 laps down
- Ty Gibbs, OUT, Engine
- Ryan Huff, OUT, Drive Shaft
- Brad Smith, OUT, Brakes
- Dick Doheny, OUT, Brakes
- Mike Basham, OUT, Overheating
- Tim Richmond, Did Not Start, Electrical
Up Next: The ARCA Menards Series heads to Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, July 11.