In 15 previous starts, Sam Mayer‘s career-best finish was second. Mayer had wins in both the ARCA Menards East & West Series, and on Friday night (July 31), he finally tallied that first career victory in the ARCA Menards Series. Mayer had to hold off the No. 18 of Ty Gibbs, but that car never really became a factor in the end as Mayer crossed the finish line by a solid margin. Taylor Gray earned his best career finish of third. Bret Holmes and Michael Self rounded out the top-five.
Chandler Smith and Gibbs led the field to green with Smith taking the lead early. The pace was blistering as Smith managed to catch the faster lead-lap cars of Derek Griffith and points leader Self. As the laps ticked away, Smith passed Griffith relatively quickly, but when it came time to lap his teammate, it wasn’t happening. The No. 25 managed to stay on the lead lap as the caution waved for the first break of the race.
By this point, Thad Moffitt made it on track after not taking the green. A faulty starter on the No. 46 car would put them way behind the eight ball early. Moffitt would work his way up a few positions but not many. He finished the race in 12th. By this point, Brad Smith, Mike Basham, Giovanni Bromante and Owen Smith would be out of the race.
Smith and Gibbs both battled it out during the restart after the first race break of the night. Smith was able to take the lead and run with it while Gibbs fell back. Mayer popped his head into the fight that ultimately kickstarted his race-winning performance. Mayer was racing his own race at that point, just logging rapid qualifying laps as the segment end came.
The second-to-final restart of the night saw Mayer run away with the lead while Gibbs and Smith battled it out for second. The final caution of the night came with an event that “changes everything”. Smith went behind the wall and was relegated to an 11th place finish.
On the final restart, Mayer and Gibbs would battle hard for the lead with Mayer taking first and ultimately the victory. That win marks the first for GMS Racing in the ARCA Menards Series since Grant Enfinger in 2015 at Salem. Gibbs finishes second for the fifth sixth time in his career while Gray, Holmes and Self earned top-five finishes.
Ty Gibbs will lead them to green in the Menards 200 Presented by Crosley Brands alongside Chandler Smith. Qualifying was set by the second lap of qualifying on Friday due to the impending inclement weather that is in the forecast for Saturday. The Menards 200 Presented by Crosley Brands will go live on MAVTV at 12 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Gold: Track Pass package.
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