The ARCA Menards Series combined with the ARCA Menards Series West for a combination race at Phoenix Raceway on Friday. The General Tire 150 served as the second race on the calendar for the ARCA Menards Series while it served as the season opener for the West series.
Taylor Gray, coming into the event with heavy hearts after hauler driver Steven Stotts lost his life in a fatal highway accident en route to Phoenix Raceway on Tuesday that also injured team members Michael Mizzelle and John Zaverl, led 43 of the 154 laps in the ARCA Overtime finish.
“All those guys, you know, really tough to beat. We had a really good race car tonight. What a fast car,” said an emotional Taylor Gray in victory lane. “The reason we’re here today is because of Steven (Stotts), Michael (Mizzelle) and John (Zaverl). I don’t know why I would be here if we didn’t think they wouldn’t want us to be here.”
Gray, with 11 ARCA West starts, captured his fourth career West victory.
Daniel Dye picked up his fifth career top five finish with his runner-up at Phoenix. Dye had a dominant car–even leading the field by over four seconds with under 20 to go–when D.L. Wilson spun to bring out the seventh yellow on lap 142. The driver led two times for 32 laps.
“We had a great car as GMS brought a really good Chevrolet,” said Dye. “Just came down to a decision that I’ll never make again–picking the top at Phoenix on the money restart–just not smart doing that at a short track.”
Pole starter Sammy Smith rounded out the top three finishers in Friday’s General Tire 150. Smith started on the pole and scored his 12th top five across all three ARCA Racing divisions.
Rajah Caruth and Jake Drew rounded out the top five.
Taking home top 10s were Jesse Love, Nick Sanchez, Josh Berry, Derek Kraus and Connor Mosack.
The event, featuring nine yellow flags that included an ARCA overtime finish, had three leaders and eight lead changes.
The ARCA Menards Series moves to Talladega Superspeedway on April 23rd, airing live on FS1 and MRN Radio. As for the ARCA Menards Series West, they’ll be back in action on March 26th at Irwindale Speedway, airing live on FloRacing.