Historic Beginnings for ARCA at Phoenix Raceway

The ARCA Menards Series is a history racing association that has existed since the 1950s. For the first time in their storied history, the series drove into Phoenix Raceway and kicked off the inaugural Sioux Chief Showdown, a 10-race series combining the ARCA East, West, and National Series.

Pickens High School (GA) student, Chandler Smith and his Venturini Motorsports team made a late-race call to play pit strategy under caution to place themselves in the lead. With a late-race caution, the first General Tire 150 came down to a one-lap shootout where Chandler Smith held off teammate Michael Self and Ty Gibbs to win at Phoenix Raceway.

“Everybody that’s been putting in all this work on the No. 20 JBL Camary in the offseason,” Smith told Sports360AZ in Gatorade Victory Lane. “Wow is all I got to say, what an amazing race.  We didn’t even lead a lap till the very last five. That’s the ones that matter to me and that’s why we ended up sitting in victory lane. Me and Billy Venturini always work great together and that’s what it came down to.”

Michael Self and Ty Gibbs were the only drivers in the field who had previously won at Phoenix, both coming in the ARCA Regional Series. Ty Gibbs dominated practice, qualified on the pole and led the majority of the race. Self qualified second and was the only driver keeping Gibbs at a reasonable distance throughout the race. Self ran into electrical problems with the car shutting off during a restart. Self fought back from the back of the back on three occasions to finish second.

Gibbs was flushed to the back of the field on one of the many late-race restarts but made his way up to a third-place finish.

Michael Self still leads the ARCA Menards Series points as the national series heads to Salem Speedway on April 19 for the next Sioux Chief Showdown race.

The Speed Fest continues at Phoenix with the LS Tractor 200 for the Xfinity Series on Saturday and the FanShield500 for the Cup Series on Sunday.