AVONDALE, Arizona (March 6, 2020) — Chandler Smith took his Venturini Motorsports Toyota to victory lane in the ARCA Menards Series’ first visit to Phoenix Raceway, winning the General Tire 150 after a one lap dash following a late race caution.
Ty Gibbs led 122 of the 150 laps and by all other accounts was poised to be the race winner. However, Gibbs came down pit road with other leaders during a caution on lap 130 for Thadd Moffitt. This left a new group of leaders, choosing not to pit, on track.
After several laps of confusion, which included multiple drivers pulling up into a three and four wide pacing formation, the field was finally reset and racing resumed.
The race’s final caution came out on lap 144 for a crash between Jesse Love and Drew Dollar. This set up a one lap dash to the finish. Chandler Smith held off a charging Ty Gibbs and Michael Self to claim his eighth win in 21 ARCA Menards Series starts. Self narrowly beat Gibbs to the line to take second, with Gibbs relegated to third. Tanner Gray and Zane Smith, both numbered 17, rounded out the top five.
In victory lane, Smith applauded crew chief and team owner Billy Venturini for making the call to stay out, rather than pitting.
“Well, give it to this man right here,” Smith said. “Mine and his combination, as I said, is one of a kind. If he hadn’t of made that call we wouldn’t have won that race. He made a gamble and it’s why we’re sitting here in victory lane.”
Ty Gibbs was very frustrated about how the end of the race played out. The young driver tried to choose his words carefully.
“I have no words to summarize it, or I’ll get in trouble,” said Gibbs. “That’s how frustrated I am. Very frustrated by how this was run. It was very embarrassing to the sport. I just can’t thank everyone enough that has helped me out.”
During his interview, Gibbs kept his eyes hidden by a pair of sunglasses.
Later Gibbs elaborated about his interview on Twitter:
“I had tears of frustration so I put my oakleys on. I’m not too cool btw”
Michael Self, after overcoming multiple issues with his racecar, rallied from the back of the field in the middle portion of the race to a second place finish. He now leads the ARCA Menards Series points stands by 13 over second place Hailie Deegan. Deegan, coming off a second place run in Daytona, lingered in the top five all night long, but struggled a bit on restarts, dropping back to a respectable seventh at race’s end.
Unofficial Results from the General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway
|21.||32||Howie DiSavino III|
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
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