ARCA Championship Battle Heats Up With 7 Races Remaining

ARCA Menards

Emilee Chinn/ARCA Racing) Corey Heim (left) and Ty Gibbs (right) race at Winchester Speedway.

The ARCA Menards Series returned to action on Friday, Aug. 6, with a race at Watkins Glen International. Several drivers took the green flag with the intention of locking up a win, but one of the championship favorites shut them all down. Corey Heim raced to Victory Lane for his fifth win of the season.

Heim started the race second behind pole-sitter Ty Gibbs — the current points leader — but he did not remain behind his peer for very long. The driver of the No. 20 Toyota took the lead and held it for the final 18 of 41 laps, building up a 2.5-second advantage en route to his win. Gibbs led 14 laps and finished third overall while Austin Hill took second.

“Everything we possibly could bring to the race track, we brought today,” Heim said, per the official ARCA website. “This Venturini Motorsports team has battled back from a lot this year. I’m really proud of them; this Craftsman Camry was rolling really good today.”

With this win, Heim is now closer to Gibbs in the championship race with seven races remaining. He sits only two points behind his peer and will have an opportunity to continue stacking points when the season resumes with a race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 20.

A Mechanical Issue Disrupted a Cup Series Rookie

When the ARCA Menards regulars headed out onto the track for the Aug. 6 race, a few big names joined them. JR Motorsports driver Sam Mayer, GMS Racing driver Tyler Ankrum, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Brandon Jones, and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe all competed to gain experience before their respective races at the road course.

Briscoe, a rookie in the Cup Series, had an opportunity to lock up the win while driving the No. 14 Ford. He passed Gibbs for the lead and continued to press his advantage for nine laps, but a mechanical issue disrupted his day. Briscoe had to head to pit road with 17 laps remaining to address a suspension issue on the No. 14.

The 2016 ARCA Menards Series champion never returned to the track. He had to park the No. 14 due to the issue and ultimately finished 23rd in the 29-car field. Now Briscoe will strive to turn in a better finish on Sunday, Aug. 8, when he climbs into the No. 14 SHR Ford Mustang for the Go Bowling at the Glen Cup Series race.

Gibbs Has More Racing To Do Before Heading Home From Watkins Glen

Ty Gibbs

GettyTy Gibbs celebrates a win at the Daytona Road Course.

While he did not secure the win at Watkins Glen in the ARCA Menards Series, Gibbs will have another opportunity to reach Victory Lane at the road course. He will be back in the No. 54 JGR Toyota Supra with the intention of winning his third race in only 10 starts.

Gibbs will join Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, and Harrison Burton on the road course as they fight for points ahead of the playoffs. The part-time driver will start near the middle of the pack as he lines up on the eighth row next to Jade Buford. Jones, by comparison, will line up on the 11th row.

The race will be crucial as it helps prepare the 18-year-old for his future in the NASCAR series. JGR announced on Friday, Aug. 6, that Sport Clips had agreed to sponsor Gibbs in the Xfinity Series. The team did not reveal the terms of the deal or even if the young driver will move full-time to the No. 20 after Harrison Burton heads to Wood Brothers Racing in 2022. However, Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass clarified on July 17 that the plan has been to put Gibbs in the Xfinity Series full time in 2022.

READ NEXT: Justin Marks Explains ‘Why’ Trackhouse Chose Ross Chastain

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x