Chandler Smith pulled off an unlikely win Friday night in the ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway. Smith inherited the lead late and held off Michael Self and a dominant Ty Gibbs for his eighth-career ARCA Menards Series victory.
“Well, give it to this man right here,” Smith said of his crew chief Billy Venturini. “Mine and his combination, as I said, is one of a kind. If he hadn’t of made that call we wouldn’t have won that race. He made a gamble and it’s why we’re sitting here in victory lane.”
While Smith enjoyed the spoils of victory, Gibbs was left wondering what could have been. After a ton of laps were burned trying to get the running order sorted out, Gibbs was left with a one-lap shootout to try to supplant Smith.
“I have no words to summarize it, or I’ll get in trouble,” said Gibbs. “That’s how frustrated I am.”
Gibbs continued by saying, “Very frustrated by how this was run. It was very embarrassing to the sport. I just can’t thank everyone enough that has helped me out.”
In a truly impressive performance for Gibbs, the grandson of Joe Gibbs, Friday in the ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway, who led an nearly the entire race while in quest of his third-career win in ARCA Menards Series competition.
Gibbs, 17, started from the pole and was unquestionably the driver to beat throughout the entire 150-mile contest. But after pitting for tires late in the race, Gibbs had to come from eighth-place with just 11 laps remaining. Gibbs made quick work of things though, as he got to second-place with nine laps to go.
After a caution with seven laps to go, Gibbs restarted alongside Chandler Smith for the lead with just one lap to go.
Gibbs started from the outside lane, and just couldn’t mount a challenge as Smith got an incredible restart.
Self edged past Gibbs on the inside as well.
Behind the frantic one-lap shootout for the win was Hailie Deegan, who finished seventh. The 18-year old California native notched her second-consecutive top-10 finish to begin the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season.
Deegan now sits second in points behind Self by 13 points.
Deegan tied the all-time best finish in ARCA Menards Series history for a female a few weeks ago in Daytona when she finished runner-up.
This race marked the second event of the ARCA Menards Series schedule. The event featured a field of 24 cars including teams from the ARCA Menards East and West Series as this was the first of a 10-race Sioux Chief Showdown.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.