It was an absolutely chaotic day at Toledo Speedway from start to finish, but it ultimately wrapped up with Nick Sanchez hoisting the 2022 ARCA Menards Series championship trophy high.
A championship, in any form of racing, never comes easy, especially when it comes down to the wire like this year’s ARCA Menards Series championship did, as the series finally reached the conclusion of a series-long points battler between Sanchez and Daniel Dye.
However, the theme of the day, at least as far as the championship battle was concerned, was mechanical issues. The day started with Sanchez and Rev Racing having to change engines, limiting practice time for the No. 2 team.
Throughout the majority of the contest, Dye had control over his championship aspirations, but not by a large margin. However, a season-long issue for Dye reared its head again in the season finale. Mechanical issues.
— ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) October 8, 2022
Throughout the entire 20-race campaign, GMS Racing’s sole entry has had some unfortunate luck when it comes to mechanical issues, and Saturday’s race, possibly the most crucial of the season, was no different.
With less than 65 laps in the event, Dye’s No. 43 Chevrolet SS slowed, before eventually being forced to park in the garage, where the team made the repairs as quickly as possible, getting the Florida native back on-track 36 laps down.
In the end, Dye’s mechanical issues would clinch the championship for Nick Sanchez and Rev Racing, giving the organization its first ARCA Menards Series championship in just its second year of full-time competition.
— Rev Racing (@RevRacin) October 8, 2022
That’s not even close to everything that happened in the race, though. Outside of the championship battle, the race was total chaos for pretty much the entire field, especially the ending.
Jesse Love and Grant Enfinger were battling for the victory inside the race’s final five laps, when Sammy Smith made an aggressive three-wide move, shoving the No. 20 and No. 44 up the track, and taking over the lead.
Love, 17, wasn’t happy, as the move cost Venturini Motorsports the 2022 ARCA Menards Series Owner’s Title. The California native showed his displeasure, vividly, after the race, which included a punch into the cockpit of the No. 18 after Smith performed his burnouts directly in front of the No. 20.
The victory was the sixth for Sammy Smith in his 16-race stint in the ARCA Menards Series this season. Despite missing four races, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver would still finish fourth-place in points.
Love would be denied his second victory of the season at Toledo Speedway, but was still able to clinch his eighth top-five result of the year. Grant Enfinger, visiting from the NASCAR Truck Series, would finish in third.
Taylor Gray and Rajah Caruth rounded out the top-five finishers.
Nick Sanchez finished sixth en-route to the 2022 ARCA Menards Series title, while Landon Pambelton, Matthew Gould, Greg Van Alst, and Amber Balcean closed out the drivers inside the top-10.
With the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series East meeting their natural conclusions for the series, all that remains is the ARCA Menards Series West, which still has two events remaining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring on October 14, and the season-finale at Phoenix Raceway on November 4.