By Tadd Haislop, ARCA Menards Series
TOLEDO, Ohio — Ty Gibbs won Saturday night’s Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Toledo Speedway to pick up his third ARCA Menards Series victory of the 2021 season.
In a way, the 18-year-old’s performance at the half-mile oval in Toledo, Ohio, was more impressive than his leading every lap in each of his prior two ARCA Menards starts, at Kansas Speedway on May 1 and last weekend at Dover International Speedway. This time, he faced some adversity.
Gibbs led the first 131 laps at Toledo before his top rival in the 2021 championship race, Corey Heim, nudged him up the race track and out of the lead with 68 laps to go. Gibbs dropped back to third.
The slip did not matter. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota charged back to Heim’s bumper and, on Lap 179, took back P1 for good.
Gibbs’ third win in the ARCA Menards Series this season breaks a tie with Heim for the most in the series. It is his 11th ARCA Menards Series win dating back to 2019.
“We had a really good night,” said Gibbs. “Had issues there at the end, kind of getting moved. That’s just racing hard there. I can’t thank my guys enough for working on this thing so much and loving racing. These guys put in a lot of work. All the credit to them.”
With his win in the fifth race of the season, Gibbs sits second in the ARCA Menards Series standings, now 17 points behind Heim. Saturday’s race also was the first in the 2021 Sioux Chief Showdown, giving Gibbs the early edge in the standings for ARCA’s series within the series.
“The 18 definitely had a bit of an advantage on us,” Heim allowed after Saturday night’s race. “I’ll get better. I’m 100 percent confident we’re going to get there; no doubt about it.
“I did everything I could there. As I said, the 18 just had an advantage.”
Said Gibbs of Heim’s aggressive pass for the lead on Lap 132: “It was just hard racing there. (Heim) was a little excited. It was the only shot they had to see the front, and they took it. I would have done the same thing.
And of his passing Heim for good with 21 laps to go: “I feel like we were fast enough to pass him without touching him, which was the respectful way.”
Nick Sanchez, who is running in the ARCA Menards Series this season for Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, matched his career-best with a third-place finish at Toledo.
“Not bad for a place we struggle at,” said Sanchez with a laugh.
Reigning ARCA Menards Series West champion Jesse Love finished fourth at Toledo in his first ARCA Menards Series race driving for Venturini Motorsports. Thad Moffitt finished fifth.
Cole Williams, Gracie Trotter, Alex Clubb, A.J. Moyer, and Dick Doheny rounded out the top 10, with Moyer and Doheny earning their first top-10 finishes in the ARCA Menards Series.
Beyond the two scheduled breaks on Lap 75 and Lap 125, Saturday night’s race at Toledo featured just one caution for an incident. Doheny ran off the track on Lap 116 — and collected some Herr Foods signage in the process — to bring out the yellow.
The ARCA Menards Series will return to action next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the General Tire 150 on Saturday, May 29.
The Charlotte race is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET and broadcast live on FS1 with live streaming available on Fox Sports Go.