Corey Heim was leading the way when the caution came out with four laps to go after Scott Reeves blew a right-front tire in turn four. During the caution period, Heim and teammate Drew Dollar’s crew chiefs were attempting to work a deal with each other for Heim to drop down in front of Dollar and get a push.
That deal worked out with Dollar pushing his teammate Heim to victory in the first race of the season and resulted in his second career-victory.
Defending ARCA champion Bret Holmes was able to finish the race in third while Ty Gibbs and Kyle Sieg rounded out the top-five.
The race kicked off with a green race track after heavy rain soaked the speedway between qualifying and the race. Dollar and Gracie Trotter led the field to green with Dollar taking control, leading while holding the line on the bottom groove and staving off any attempts from his competitors to overtake the top spot.
On lap 11, Thad Moffitt, Rich Bickle, Jack Wood, and Dave Mader III got together at the entrance of turn one with Moffitt receiving the worst of the damage. He spun down across the series sponsors painted on the asphalt, bringing out the first caution of the afternoon.
As the green flag was waved for the restart, Dollar and Trotter battled side-by-side for the lead with the outside line finally prevailing. Derek Griffith pushed the No. 25 of Trotter to the lead from the outside and continued to threaten to take the lead himself for a few laps before finally dropping to the bottom with the lead. Griffith would continue to get pushes from Trotter – until one push didn’t sit right.
Trotter knocked the No. 55 into a squirrelly move and Griffith was unable to save it as he spun around and back up the track collecting Greg Van Alst and Nick Sanchez. Trotter would also sustain some damage to her car along with Dollar. Both would make repairs under the caution period.
Trouble on Lap 29 brings out another 🟡
Multiple cars involved pic.twitter.com/vhZZVn0IIw
— ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) February 13, 2021
Tanner Gray would receive the lead as the leaders pitted but it would be a while until the field would take the green for the restart, as ARCA officials were struggling to set the field correctly. Once the field was finally lined up correctly, Gray and Heim would lead the field back to green up until the competition caution a few laps later.
With Gray pitting, Heim would take over the lead and never looked back. Teamwork at the end of the race would set the pace for the final laps and Venturini Motorsports would earn its’ fourth straight victory at Daytona.
The ARCA Menards Series will return in a little under four weeks at the Phoenix Raceway for the Phoenix 150. The race will be broadcast live on MavTV and on the NBC Sports Gold: Track Pass program starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Chandler Smith picked up the victory last season holding off Micheal Self for the victory.
Heim will enter Phoenix with the points lead over Drew Dollar, Bret Holmes, Ty Gibbs, and Kyle Sieg.
Photo: NKP/Nigel Kinrade Photography