In his brief ARCA Menards Series career to date, Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota) has quickly proven himself to be one of the very best drivers currently on the circuit and a favorite to win week in and week out. In his first trip to the Winchester Speedway for Saturday’s Toyota 200, Gibbs may have put up his best performance in a victory yet, leading the race nearly wire-to-wire and all but pulling off a clean sweep of ARCA’s special awards.
General Tire Pole Qualifying saw Gibbs hit the track as the final driver to take time in the session, and it was worth the wait as Gibbs tied the series-best mark of four poles in 2020 with a lap of 114.759 mph. Gibbs joined Venturini Motorsports drivers Chandler Smith and Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) to make it a trio of racers that have started first this season.
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Save for a lone restart in which second-place Michael Self got a better launch and was ahead at the stripe, Gibbs led the whole way through and was out in front of the field for 199 of the 200 laps, making him Saturday’s Valvoline Lap Leader. Gibbs has also clinched the seasonlong lap leader title at 911 laps led with three races remaining. With 400 laps scheduled to be run over the final three races of the season, current runner-up Sam Mayer will be unable to surpass Gibbs, having led 446 laps to date. Gibbs also led at halfway for the ninth time in 2020, becoming the Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Leader once again.
Gibbs took Bounty Rookie of the Race honors with his win. Meanwhile, as the chase for the Bounty Rookie of the Year award begins to wind down, a slight twist became apparent at Winchester when rookie leader Hailie Deegan (No. 4 Monster Energy Ford) crashed out of the Toyota 200 after cutting down a tire. The other ROTY contender, Drew Dollar (No. 15 Sunbelt Rentals Toyota), was able to recover from a rough evening at Bristol and finished sixth in the second high-banked short track race in three days. Deegan still leads the rookie standings by 22 points over Dollar with three races left.
The win from the pole for Gibbs earned crew chief Mark McFarland the Cometic Crew Chief of the Race nomination, furthering McFarland’s status as the leader of the Cometic Crew Chief of the Year standings.
Though the race may have been miserable for the drivers trying to chase down Ty Gibbs, one of his fellow competitors that finished behind him had to be upbeat by winning a contingency award for the first time. Con Nicolopoulos (No. 06 Great Railing Toyota) scored his first AMS top ten and picked up the K&N Filters Hard Charger award for improving upon his starting position the most of anyone in the field by the time the race finished.
With Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) and Michael Self both finishing on the lead lap at Winchester, there was no movement at the top of the S&S Volvo Laps Completed standings. Holmes still holds a slim lead of Self, having completed 2306 laps to Self’s 2303 laps. Through 17 races, a total of 2311 laps have been run in the 2020 AMS season.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series will be the Sioux Chief PowerPex 200 from Memphis International Raceway on Saturday, September 26 at 5:00 Eastern. Live television coverage will be carried by MAVTV and simulcast on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass subscription service. The Sioux Chief PowerPex 200 will be the tenth and final race in the Sioux Chief Showdown in-season championship series, currently led by Sam Mayer. Barring a drastic turn of events, the only driver likely to have a shot at knocking Mayer from the top of the leaderboard is Ty Gibbs. Mayer has 362 points to Gibbs’ 356, a difference of six points – as the championship counts race points only, that number is directly equal to six positions on the track. Mayer has finished outside the top five just once all season, but anything can happen once racing gets underway at a short track like Memphis.
The Sioux Chief PowerPex 200 will also serve as the third race in the CGS Imaging Four Crown, a series of races that tabulates points for drivers at four distinct track types: a superspeedway, a road course, a short track and a dirt track. Riley Herbst won the superspeedway round at Michigan while Michael Self took the road course trophy at the Daytona road course. Following the short track round at Memphis, the Four Crown will conclude at the Springfield mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on October 4. Self currently leads the Four Crown standings with 84 points and is trailed by Bret Holmes (78 points), Hailie Deegan (76 points) and Drew Dollar (72 points). Like the Sioux Chief Showdown, the CGS Imaging Four Crown also only counts race points. The defending Four Crown winner is Holmes, who stole the lead in the standings from Self in the final Four Crown race last year. Holmes will be looking to retake the Four Crown lead at Memphis and work towards becoming a back-to-back winner of the award.