Technically, when Ty Gibbs won the 2021 ARCA Menards Series championship by starting the season finale at Kansas Speedway, the accomplishment did not mark his first title on the platform.
A few weeks prior, with a second-place run at Salem Speedway in the series’ penultimate race, the 19-year-old from Huntersville, North Carolina, won the 2021 Sioux Chief Showdown title driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
The Sioux Chief Showdown is a 10-race series within the ARCA Menards Series schedule. With drivers under the age of 18 not permitted to race on most larger ovals, the Showdown allows drivers from the ARCA Menards Series East and West to compete with ARCA Menards Series regulars for a championship on short tracks and road courses.
The 2021 Showdown consisted of races at Toledo Speedway, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Elko Speedway, Berlin Raceway, Iowa Speedway, Winchester Speedway, Watkins Glen International, the Milwaukee Mile, Bristol Motor Speedway and Salem.
Gibbs won six of the 10 races on the Showdown schedule this year. He started the slate with consecutive wins at Toledo on May 22 and at Mid-Ohio on June 4 before Corey Heim got on the board with a Showdown win at Elko on July 10.
With Daniel Dye and Jesse Love taking Showdown wins at Berlin and Salem, respectively, the only other race not won by Gibbs was Heim’s Watkins Glen triumph on Aug. 6.
Gibbs took his other Showdown victories at Iowa, Winchester, Milwaukee and Bristol. He led all but one lap at Iowa, every lap at Milwaukee and all but three laps at Bristol.
When Gibbs arrived for the 2021 Sioux Chief Showdown finale at Salem, he held a 17-point lead over Heim in the standings. (Only race points — no bonus points — count toward the Showdown standings.) With 18 cars entered in that race, Gibbs only needed to avoid a last-place finish to clinch the title, so his second-place run was more than enough.
A year after losing the title to Sam Mayer by five points, Gibbs in 2021 won the Showdown championship by 22 points over Heim. The JGR driver scored a top-four finish in each of the 10 Showdown events.
Below are the top five finishers in the 2021 Sioux Chief Showdown.