Ty Gibbs continued to do Ty Gibbs things in Saturday afternoon’s Arizona Lottery 100 at Phoenix Raceway, the season-finale for the ARCA Menards Series West, leading 98 of the race’s 100 laps en-route to his second career victory in the ARCA Menards Series West, and his 16th ARCA victory of the year across the three divisions.
The 19-year-old pretty much led the entry event uncontested, only having to dampen a challenge from Taylor Gray on a couple of restarts throughout the event, challenges the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was easily able to overcome, stretching a margin of nearly 2.3 seconds by the end of the 100-lap event.
Taylor Gray finished in second, with Sammy Smith, Nick Sanchez, and JP Bergeron rounding out the top-five. Jake Garcia – in his ARCA West debut for David Gilliland Racing — finished sixth, followed by Drew Dollar, Rajah Caruth, Gracie Trotter, and Cole Moore inside the top-10.
However, the event’s source of excitement wasn’t from the battle for the lead, or even from battles inside the top-10, as seven drivers entered the final race of the season with a shot at being crowned 2021 ARCA Menards Series West Champion, with the top-five – Jesse Love, Paul Pedroncelli Jr, Cole Moore, Joey Iest, and Jake Drew — all entering within six points of the lead.
Pedroncelli – driving his family-owned No. 33 — faced early adversity, spinning around in the opening laps of the event, without the benefit of caution being thrown. The ill-handling Toyota Camry would be lapped shortly thereafter, a hole he’d attempt to dig out of for about half of the event.
Meanwhile, the other four main contenders, along with fringe contenders Trevor Huddleston and Todd Souza, were battling each other ferociously outside the top-10, occupying positions 12 through 17 for most of the race, continuously swapping the points lead back and forth throughout various restarts.
By the end of the event, it would come down to the series’ two powerhouses, Bill McAnally Racing and Sunrise Ford Racing, who have now combined to win the series’ last seven championships.
Jesse Love and Jake Drew remained separated by one point throughout most of the final run of the race before an ill-handling car shuffled Love back two spots in the closing laps, clearing the path for Jake Drew to become the series’ first winless champion in three decades.
At least, that’s what everyone thought was about to happen… As Drew rounded turn four in 11th-place, the broadcast announced that the Sunrise Ford driver had claimed the 2021 ARCA Menards Series West championship, keeping the cameras on the blue and orange No. 9.
What the cameras didn’t see, however, was defending series champion Jesse Love making a pass for 14th in turn two, placing the No. 16 and No. 9 in a tie for the title. That car was Drew’s teammate Trevor Huddleston, who slowed in turn two, almost like the race had finished a lap earlier, tossing away a championship for the organization.
Here is video of the chaotic and heartbreaking finish for Drew:
Video: Teammate’s Last Lap Gaffe Costs Jake Drew ARCA West Championship, Jesse Love Collects Title Instead
Love would prevail by virtue of his two victories, with Drew not visiting victory lane at all throughout the nine-race season.
2021 Arizona Lottery 100 Results:
- No. 18 – Ty Gibbs
- No. 71 – Taylor Gray (-2.291 seconds)
- No. 81 – Sammy Smith (-10.350 seconds)
- No. 2 – Nick Sanchez (-11.678 seconds)
- No. 46 – J.P. Bergeron (-13.679 seconds)
- No. 45 – Jake Garcia (-16.359 seconds)
- No. 15 – Drew Dollar (-16.547 seconds)
- No. 66 – Rajah Caruth (-19.132 seconds)
- No. 20 – Gracie Trotter (-19.595 seconds)
- No. 99 – Cole Moore (-25.295 seconds)
- No. 9 – Jake Drew (-26.133 seconds)
- No. 22 – Daniel Dye (-26.282 seconds)
- No. 25 – Parker Chase (-26.336 seconds)
- No. 16 – Jesse Love (-29.331 seconds)
- No. 6 – Trevor Huddleston (-32.394 seconds)
- No. 13 – Todd Souza (-1 Lap)
- No. 54 – Joey Iest (-1 Lap)
- No. 33 – Paul Pedroncelli Jr. (-1 Lap)
- No. 17 – Conner Jones (-1 Lap)
- No. 8 – John Borneman (-1 Lap)
- No. 30 – Max Gutierrez (-2 Laps)
- No. 51 – Dean Thompson (-2 Laps)
- No. 7 – Takuma Koga (-2 Laps)
- No. 88 – Bridget Burgess (-2 Laps)
- No. 80 – Brian Kamisky (-3 Laps)
- No. 19 – Sebastian Arias (-6 Laps)
- No. 55 – Toni Breidinger (-8 Laps)
- No. 77 – Ryan Roulette (-9 Laps)
- No. 27 – Bobby Hillis Jr. (-10 Laps)
- No. 08 – Caleb Costner (-14 Laps)
- No. 21 – Josh Fanopoulos (OUT)
- No. 4 – Eric Nascimento (OUT)
- No. 78 – Travis Milburn (OUT)
- No. 31 – Paul Pedroncelli (OUT)
2021 ARCA Menards Series West Point Standings:
- Jesse Love Jr.
- Jake Drew (-0) (LOSES TIEBREAKER)
- Cole Moore (-2)
- Paul Pedroncelli Jr. (-5)
- Joey Iest (-8)
- Trevor Huddleston (-16)
- Todd Souza (-28)
- Takuma Koga (-60)
- Bridget Burgess (-79)
- Bobby Hillis Jr. (-92)
- Dean Thompson (-164)
- Paul Pedroncelli (-186)
- Taylor Gray (-192)
- Eric Nascimento (-206)
- Josh Fanopoulos (-261)
- John Wood (-277)
- Stafford Smith (-282)
- Brian Kamisky (-283)
- Ty Gibbs (-291)
- Jolynn Wilkinson (-296)
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