Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) scored a dominant victory in Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. Gibbs thoroughly dominated the entire day as he led the day’s practice session, set the fast time in General Tire Pole Qualifying, and led every green flag lap to score his second career series victory.
“That’s all due to my right foot, the guys who build these great racecars and the man upstairs,” Gibbs said in victory lane. “It’s great to come out here and get our second win of the season. We aren’t racing for the championship so it’s all about wins for us.”
Gibbs finished two seconds ahead of Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), who moved to within five points of championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), who suffered a mechanical problem and finished 14th.
“It’s great to have Salem behind us,” Eckes said. “This isn’t my favorite track and to come out of here with that big of a gain on Michael is huge for us. It sucks we couldn’t get up there and race Ty for the win but we’ll take second and head to Indianapolis and go race for the win there.”
Self was dejected after giving up 65 of his 70-point lead over Eckes.
“We’ve had too many mechanical problems this season,” Self said. “All we want to go is come out here and race for wins. We’re going to put tonight behind us and go to Indy and Kansas to go win some races.”
Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) finished third, Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Toyota) was fourth and Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) finished fifth.
Just as Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) did in a dominant performance to win last fall at Salem, Gibbs led every green flag lap. He led from the initial start through lap 172 when he was beaten off pit road by Eckes. Gibbs retook the lead on the restart at lap 176 and we never headed.
The race was slowed five times by cautions. The first, at lap 23, was for debris, while the second, at lap 75, was for Gavin Harlein (No. 55 Autism Awareness #4Presley Toyota), who experienced mechanical issues and stopped at the entrance to pit road. The third caution of the night was for engine issues for Tim Richmond (No. 06 GreatRailing.com Dodge), and Ed Pompa (No. 11 Milwaukee Crusher/Double H Ranch Toyota) – whose Darrell Waltrip-themed throwback scheme earned him the first Jack Harrison Trophy in a fan vote during pre-race festivities – spun on lap 170 to set up the final round of pit stops that allowed Eckes to assume the lead. The fifth and final caution, again for debris, was displayed on lap 186 and set up a nine-lap dash to the checkered for Gibbs.
There were two lead changes among Gibbs and Eckes, and the race was completed in one hour, 26 minutes, and 54 seconds at an average speed of 76.640 miles per hour.
The ARCA Menards Series will take two weekends off before returning to action on Saturday, October 5 with the Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. Practice starts the day’s activities at 2 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET. The 200-lap main event, scheduled for live broadcast MAVTV, will go green shortly after 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. Discounted adult general admission tickets are available through October 4 at Indianapolis-area Menards locations for just $20. For more information, please visit TrackEnterprises.com.