By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
Ty Gibbs came oh-so-close to that fifth victory in a row on Friday but it just wasn’t meant to be for the No. 18.
Despite starting on the pole, Gibbs wasn’t the normal dominating self we have seen this season but that didn’t stop the No. 18 from putting his name in the hat very early. Gibbs took the lead on the initial start and held it until Chandler Smith took the lead from him on lap 12.
Gibbs was able to take the lead back from Smith after the No. 25 faltered. Gibbs would lose the lead on occasion for the pit stops just before the final break of the afternoon but would lead the field as the caution was displayed for the big accident involving Jason Kitzmiller and Jack Wood. The final restart would come and that is where the complexion of the entire race would change.
Gibbs restarted with the lead and was holding real estate that wasn’t for sale. Smith was looking for a door that never opened and probably never would’ve. The two made contact and somehow both kept the cars going straight. Both drivers had damage but Gibbs tire rub wore itself out. Despite not tallying the victory, Gibbs still earned his eighth career second-place finish.
“I blocked, and he ran into me,” Gibbs said about the contact with Smith. “That’s part of it and we were hard racing. He ran into me so that’s on his part.”
Despite not earning that fifth in a row, Gibbs has now finished first or second in five straight races. Six of the eight races in 2021 have had Gibbs in the top-five including five of those being first or second-place finishes.
“We were just tight,” said Gibbs. “All of the battling on the restarts, we kinda got beat on there. I’ve done some stuff that kind of messed me up and having a lack of teammates didn’t help too much. We fought really hard today, my guys work really hard and I am very thankful to be with these guys, and having Pristine Auctions on the car was really cool but no, just a little too tight for tonight. We kinda brought something different and it just didn’t work. So we’ll move on and we’ll keep focusing on Elko.”
Gibbs raced at Elko in 2019 finishing second and will look to take the points lead from Heim.
Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography