After finishing a frustrating second place at Bristol Motor Speedway Thursday night, Ty Gibbs and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team rebounded to a dominating victory at Winchester Speedway Saturday afternoon after starting on the pole.
“Yeah, that was fun,” Gibbs told MAVTV in his post-race interview about the Winchester victory. “I’m just trying to get as much experience as I can (in these cars). I think I led almost every single lap. It was a fun time. It was a dream come true to win here at Winchester. It’s a really cool track with a lot of history and it’s cool to win here. I’m just excited we can move on and win some more races after this.”
The Toyota 200 marked the 17th race of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season and the second ARCA race of the week, just two days removed from previously competing at Bristol on Thursday night. There were three segments throughout the 200-lap event. The first segment ended on Lap 75, the second on Lap 150 and the final at Lap 200 when the checkered flag flew.
Before the event started there were a few notable changes. Eric Caudell in the No. 7 was added to the entry list and there were three driver changes. The No. 10 was originally supposed to be driven by Owen Smith but he was replaced by Rick Clifton. The No. 11 change took place when Mike Basham took over after Ed Pompa jumped out of the machine and Owen Smith took over the No. 12 after Basham went to the No. 11.
Segment 1: Lap 1 – Lap 75
When the green flag flew, it was all Ty Gibbs who led every single lap throughout the first segment. There was only one caution that flew on Lap 60 for the No. 4 of Hailie Deegan who spun around off Turn 2, but kept going without further incident. However, Deegan, along with her teammate, Taylor Gray, pitted right before the green flag flew for a right-rear tire flat.
The restart came at Lap 64 but no one proved to be a match for Gibbs as he led through the first segment. Self, Love, Holmes, Dollar, Gray, Deegan, Basham, Caudell, Smith, Nicolopoulos, and Clifton were the Top 10.
During the segment break, Deegan received the free pass and got back on the lead lap.
Segment 2: Lap 79 – Lap 150
Just one caution slowed the second segment. This time, Deegan was back in the wall and unfortunately, her day was done early, as the damage to the California native’s No. 4 machine was too catastrophic to repair. Deegan would be credited with a 12th place finish, out of the race.
Like the first segment, everyone found themselves riding behind the dominating No. 18 of Ty Gibbs who once again led through the first 150 laps until caution flags flew for the second break of the race. Completing the Top 10 were Self, Love, Holmes, Gray, Dollar, Basham, Caudell, Smith, and Nicolopoulos.
Segment 3: Lap 153 – Lap 200
During the remaining laps of the Toyota 200, no more yellows were flown for any other incidents, which allowed Ty Gibbs to run away for his fifth checkered flag of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season.
Michael Self came home in the second position, earning his 11th top five of the season, and he still leads the championship points standings over Bret Holmes.
“This was fun, two fun racetracks,” Self said. “Bristol was a heart breaker for us the other night. We had a super fast car, and I thought we had a chance to win that one. The guys made some great changes and got caught up in a little bit of a wreck by hitting the right-rear but still was able to rebound.
“Here at Winchester, I’m really proud of the No. 25 SinClair Oil team and everyone at Venturini Motorsports. It’s no secret, we’ve struggled pretty bad as of recently. We’ve been frustrated. We’ve beaten ourselves up, myself up. Despite that, we’ve been thrashing, and the guys have been working hard on the cars and I think it showed. There was a time about five races ago, where we couldn’t keep the 18 (Ty Gibbs) in sight, and today, we were within a adjustment or two of running with him. I’m just really excited as we’re finding speed at the right time. We got good tracks in front of us, and hopefully we can keep our momentum up.”
While Gibbs celebrated with another victory, drivers such as Brad Smith, Eric Caudell, and Con Nicolopoulous enjoyed a career-high day as they all gained their first Top 10 finish in an ARCA Menards Series competition. Smith’s top 10 came in 363 starts at the age of 51, whereas Caudell’s came in just his 49th start at the age of 53, and Nicolopoulous in just 87 starts at the age of 58.
Smith’s thoughts about his Top 10 finish are below.
Official Results following the Toyota 200 at Winchester Speedway.
- Ty Gibbs, led 199 laps
- Michael Self, led one lap
- Bret Holmes
- Jesse Love
- Taylor Gray
- Drew Dollar, 1 lap down
- Mike Basham, 6 laps down
- Eric Caudell, 18 laps down
- Brad Smith, 25 laps down
- Con Nicolopoulos, 30 laps down
- Rick Clifton, 32 laps down
- Hailie Deegan, OUT, Crash
- Owen Smith, OUT, Brakes
- Wayne Peterson, OUT, Valve Spring
Up Next: The ARCA Menards Series will visit Memphis International Speedway for Round No. 18 of the 2020 season Sunday, Sept. 26, and will air live on NBC Sports Gold Trackpass.