By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
The ARCA Menards Series championship contenders have arrived. Two races have passed in the ARCA Menards Series as the series takes a month-long break, it gives us an opportunity to break down the drivers who could earn the championship in just a few months.
The first two races of the ARCA Menards Series season have been solid but two contenders have really shown their hand. Corey Heim kicked off the season earning the victory at Daytona and Ty Gibbs tallied the victory in race number two at Phoenix. Fittingly, the two drivers contended for victory in the races they didn’t win. Gibbs finished third at Daytona and Heim finished second at Phoenix. The reason we haven’t seen these two drivers clash in the past for a championship neither has run full-time in the ARCA Menards Series. Both drivers have run part-time schedules and have shown they can compete for wins so it’s no surprise that these two are the top contenders.
Current points leader Heim has 18 career starts in the ARCA Menards Series. He’s run for both Chad Bryant Racing and Venturini Motorsports and has now two wins to his credit. In 2019, Heim ran 13 races for Chad Bryant Racing and he went winless. Toyota and Venturini Motorsports gave Heim an opportunity to show his worth and he did just that finishing fourth, eighth, and earning a walk-off caliber win at Kansas in his last start. That victory is ultimately what propelled him into a full-time ride this season.
Gibbs is the grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame owner Joe Gibbs. Since jumping on the scene in ARCA in 2019, Gibbs has been kicking tail and taking names winning races in all three ARCA series. Last season, Gibbs earned six victories and finished inside the top-10 in 14 of 16 races. The only reason Gibbs didn’t run full-time in ARCA was that he wasn’t 18 yet, now that he is he’s beginning to pave his path. Adding to his impressive performances, Gibbs has made his name known in the Xfinity Series winning in his debut and finishing second in his second race.
Gibbs and Heim are currently the leading contenders in the ARCA Menards Series. Drew Dollar, who is currently third in points, will not be running the full-season meaning at some point he will fall out of contention due to missing a race. MAVTV denoted during the Phoenix race that Kyle Sieg is working towards running a full-season but wants to get more starts under their belts before setting that focus.
The ARCA Menards Series will return to action on April 24th at the Talladega Superspeedway. Neither of the championship contenders has started at the Talladega Superspeedway in their careers. The General Tire 200 will go live on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted live on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.
Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography