By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – Nick Sanchez had the speed for a runner-up finish, but a shredded tire dropped him to fifth in the ARCA Menards Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Sanchez briefly challenged eventual race winner Ty Gibbs on several restarts. The No. 2 Max Siegel Inc. Chevrolet SS edged ahead of Gibbs’ No. 18 Toyota Camry in turns three and four on a restart after halfway. However, the Miami, FL slipped back before the start-finish line.
The General Tire 150 came down to a two-lap shootout for the checkered flag. Sanchez stayed out, along with Gibbs. The Rev Racing driver lined up second on the final restart. For a moment, it looked that Sanchez would hold off the Venturini Motorsports drivers, who pitted for fresh tires.
Coming to the white flag however, the left rear tire on Sanchez’s Chevrolet came apart. The 19-year-old fought to keep the car under control. The shredded tire hampered his effort to keep the three Venturini cars at bay. When the checkered flag waved, Sanchez was fifth, on three tires.
“I think if we would have been in good position, without that tire issue, I don’t think we ever would have lost second,” explained Sanchez. “We possibly could have challenged the 18 (Gibbs) on the final restart. It would have taken everything [I had], but I think we could have been able to do it. Just didn’t get the chance.”
Sanchez qualified fifth for the 150-mile race at Charlotte. He climbed up the running order to second well before the halfway break. However, the one groove track, and lapped traffic often kept Sanchez from challenging Gibbs.
The fifth-place finish is Sanchez’s third top-five finish in his national ARCA Menards Series career. It is also his sixth top-10 finish in his career. The shredded tire ultimately prevented him from scoring a career-best second-place finish.
“At the end of the day, the cars’ in one piece and we finished,” admitted Sanchez. “This (the shredded tire), obviously I’m not happy about, but you take what you can and move on.”
Next for Sanchez is the Dawn 150 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday, June 4.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo