By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
NEWTON, Iowa — After earning his 12th career pole, Ty Gibbs nearly led flag-to-flag.
Leading all but one lap Saturday, Gibbs put up a dominating performance en-route to his sixth victory of 2021 and second straight victory at Iowa Speedway.
The 25th lap was the only one in which Gibbs wasn’t the leader, that honor went to Taylor Gray. Gray led his first lap since returning to the ARCA Menards Series competition and came home third. Daniel Dye and Gray had a solid battle towards the end. The battle would decide just who was going to go up and compete against Gibbs for the victory at the end. But neither driver was able to catch the No. 18 once he rocketed away late.
Corey Heim finished the race in fourth while Nick Sanchez rounded out the top-five.
Mason Diaz was the highest finishing ARCA East Series driver after Sammy Smith lost a tire and made contact with the wall. Smith wouldn’t be able to rebound following the incident but would be able to get back out and turn laps. He’d finish 18th, 53-laps down.
Saturday’s race featured four accident-related cautions, totaling six with two breaks at lap 51 and 100. The spin cycle was in full effect Saturday with three of those four cautions being for spins. Mason Diaz spun in turn two at lap two, Eric Caudell spun in turn four at lap seven, and Drew Dollar spun on the frontstretch at lap 84.
The only major accident of the evening came at lap 27 when Joey Iest and Conner Jones both made significant contact with the outside wall. Both drivers were able to walk away from the accident but their nights were finished with Iest finishing 20th and Jones finishing 21st.
With his victory Saturday Night, Gibbs has now tied the most victories earned in a season in his career. He earned six total victories last season. He’s also now in a league of his own on the all-time ARCA Menards Series wins list at 23rd with 14 career victories officially passing Dave Weltmeyer.
With nine races remaining in the ARCA Menards Series season the battle heads to Winchester Speedway for the Calypso Lemonade 200 on Saturday, July 31st.
Photo: Christian Koelle