After taking control of the field in the race’s final 10-lap stint, Nick Sanchez picked up this third ARCA Menards Series victory of the year at Michigan International Speedway.
The 21-year-old continued to show his strength on the big tracks, with all of his four career wins coming at venues larger than 1.5 miles.
“It was all defense,” Sanchez said, via MAVTV. “My team brought me a really fast car, but we were not the fastest ones, so we had to capitalize on restarts as we always do. We did that, we played defense and took the air from everyone.
“When you know you have to go get it, you know you have to go get it on a restart. Those are the best days, we did not have the speed to win that race, we took it away from the 20 (Corey Heim), 43 (Daniel Dye) and the 18 (Sammy Smith). So that is the best feeling and thank you to Max Siegel, REV Racing, everyone that helps with this program. Team Chevy, without them we wouldn’t be here and they’ve helped us go to victory lane three times this year.”
Saturday’s win came to fruition through perseverance and keeping the wheel as steady as possible.
The second-half of the event faced a major change when the race’s fastest driver, Corey Heim, had to make a second pit-stop after the entire field went to pit road following the first caution.
While Heim scurried his way through the field, side-by-side racing occurred at the front. Eventual winner Sanchez, Sammy Smith and Bret Holmes were under a blanket for the lead for the first 15 laps after the restart.
Venturini Motorsports prepared another bullet for Heim as he wasted no time getting back into the top-five. It was only 18 laps after the restart when the part-time NASCAR Truck Series driver reached second-place and eventually split the lead pair of Sanchez and Smith.
Sanchez continued to lead the field ahead of Heim for another eight circuits before giving it back to the No. 20 Toyota. A competition caution at lap 70 brought the front pack back together and gave Sanchez another shot, as Heim’s speed had let him get out to a large lead.
On the restart with under 30 laps to go, Smith was back in play and assumed the lead, but lost it almost immediately to Sanchez. Heim fell outside the top-three but gathered it up quickly to pass Sanchez and Smith once again.
A final restart set up a 10 lap shootout to the finish with Daniel Dye now in the mix, giving Sanchez a huge push off into Turn 1. Heim looked to be in trouble as he tapped the wall.
Despite getting mired behind the third and fourth place drivers, Heim sent a slider for the runner up spot with eight to go. This enabled the No. 20 Toyota to get back behind Sanchez, but it wasn’t enough with only a lap to go.
Heim and Dye placed behind the victor in second and third. Smith finished fourth for his second career finish outside the top-three in eight starts.
Gus Dean – in his final start of the season for Venturini Motorsports – completed the top-five, marking his third of the year in three starts.
Rajah Caruth and Bret Holmes accomplished sixth and seventh-place results. While making his first series start since 2015, Cody Coughlin slotted in eighth.
Greg Van Alst and Morgen Baird rounded out the top 10.
Henry Ford Health 200 Full Race Results:
1- Nick Sanchez
2- Corey Heim
3- Daniel Dye
4- Sammy Smith
5- Gus Dean
6- Rajah Caruth
7- Bret Holmes
8- Cody Coughlin
9- Greg Van Alst
10- Morgen Baird
11- Toni Breidinger
12- Jason Kitzmiller
13- DL Wilson
14- Jeffrey MacZink
15- Scott Melton
16- Brad Smith
17- Alex Chubb
18- Amber Balcaen
19- Tim Monroe
20- Dallas Freuh
21- Zachary Tinkle
The next ARCA Menards Series race is at Watkins Glen International, on Friday, Aug 19.