The ARCA Menards Series went road course racing at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, a first for the series at the historic track known for stock car auto racing. The General Tire 100, delayed because of lightning in the area, was dominated by two drivers: Michael Self and Ty Gibbs.
Self, starting second, and Gibbs, starting fifth, quickly worked their way to the front of the field in the opening laps. Gibbs took the lead from pole sitter Chandler Smith on the opening lap to lead the first 14 circuits. Self later took the lead from Gibbs just prior to the scheduled five-minute break at lap 15.
Self lead the first lap into the second segment until Gibbs re-claimed the top spot for the next five laps. Then, on lap 23, with six laps remaining, Self passed Gibbs for the top position and cruised to his second ARCA Menards Series victory of the season.
“I hope he (Gibbs) had as much fun as I did there in that first stage,” said Self on MAVTV after the victory, his second ARCA victory of the year at Daytona. “That’s what racing on the road courses is supposed to be about. That was so much fun”
Gibbs, leading nine of 28 circuits, finished runner-up in his No. 18 Toyota. The North Carolina native leaves with his sixth top five of the season in eight starts.
“I’ve learned a lot from him (Michael),” said Gibbs following a runner-up finish. “He’s been really helpful and very fun to race against him. He’s got all this experience so I was just a little guy. It was a hard day, but I can’t thank this team enough.”
Sam Mayer will get credit for finishing third despite having relief driver Colin Braun in the No. 21 Chevrolet for the final segment. Mayer, piloting his car in the opening segment, suffered a hairline fracture in his hand at Road America a week leading up to the event at Daytona and had Braun on stand-by.
Holding two victories this season, Mayer has seven top five and seven top 10 finishes in eight races.
“We fired off really good at the start of the race when it was really wet,” Mayer told MAVTV. “I really couldn’t go much further; I’m glad that we had a halfway break because my hand started hurting pretty bad. I’m really proud of him (Colin Braun). He got into the race car when everyone else had 14 laps and he had zero and he was able to still bring a top-three.”
“I was a little worried when I got to second honestly,” said Braun. “These guys at GMS Racing did a great job, the Chevy was fast. I got myself up into second and went ‘I don’t know when I’m really supposed to break here going into the bus stop … I haven’t done a lap yet’. For me, I sorta overachieved early, and then realized I gotta figure it out.”
Taylor Gray and Will Rodgers rounded out the top five.
Hailie Deegan, Max McLaughlin, Bret Holmes, Chandler Smith and Parker Chase took home top 10s.
Only one yellow slowed the field for the halfway break at lap 15. Ayrton Ori had a tire go down on his No. 74 Chevrolet with around two-laps remaining, forcing him to pit road and giving up a top 10 finish. Max McLaughlin received damage on his No. 1 Toyota when he and Chandler Smith went around on the course. McLaughlin earned his third top 10 while Smith earned his sixth top 10 finish.
The ARCA Menards Series will go back oval racing on August 29th at Gateway. The event will air live on MAVTV and NBC Sports Gold TrackPass at 6:00 p.m. ET.