Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – WATKINS GLEN, NY – The ARCA Menards Series put on a show at Watkins Glen International Friday afternoon that didn’t disappoint.
After Chase Briscoe suffered left front issues ending his day, championship rivals Ty Gibbs and Corey Heim went for the lead and Heim got the advantage to take his fifth win of the ARCA season.
Ty Gibbs led the early 14 laps from pole and looked like the early contender to take the win. Chase Briscoe, had other plans.
The Cup Series driver, who had only one appearance at the Glen entering the weekend got up to Gibbs to make a pass on him to take the lead and pull away.
The lone yellow of the event came on lap 17 when Drew Dollar made contact with Dale Quarterley, spinning the latter out and leading to the competition caution.
Briscoe held serve on the restart and pulled away from Gibbs and Heim. Briscoe looked like he was going for an ARCA win since his title run in 2016, until a left front suspension forced Briscoe to the pits, taking him to the garage.
This opened up a side-by-side battle for the lead between Gibbs and Heim. Last week at Winchester, Gibbs spun Heim in the final laps to take the win and extend the points lead to seven. Heim raced him hard down the back chute, but raced him clean and cleared Gibbs in the bus stop.
As Gibbs was conservative, per the radio, he tried to drive it 110% but lost time to Heim and was passed by Austin Hill in the final laps going through turn six to take runner-up.
Corey Heim took home the win in ARCA’s final road course race of the season.
“Everything we possibly could bring to the racetrack, we brought today,” Heim said. On racing Ty clean, Heim replied with “He [Ty] never got into me this race so I never got into him. That’s how we’ve been racing each other. I knew I was way faster at the time and no reason to bump him.”
“We fought. Days like this are hard. It sucks to finish third but I’d rather finish third than fourth fifth or sixth. You just got to persevere and keep the hammer down,” Gibbs said.
“Today was a nice, smooth race. We wanted to save tires, but I wanted to go five laps sooner. I couldn’t put the throttle down like I wanted to. Look five or laps so too long for it to come it. I think that’s one reason why it took longer to get around the 18,” Hill said to RPW. “There are a few things we’ll do the same way (tomorrow). The biggest thing is the same engine. When you’re launching out of second gear, you’ll have more wheelspin.”
Hill competes in tomorrow’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and starts on pole via qualifying formula.
With the finish today, the points lead for Gibbs over Heim is down to two markers.
Next week, ARCA goes to Michigan International Speedway. Glen Week resumes tomorrow with a Truck/Xfinity doubleheader.
For more interviews with Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, and Corey Heim, head to the RSN Trackside Facebook page.
Clean Harbors 100 (41 Laps)
20 Corey Heim, 2. 1 Austin Hill (2.254s), 3. 18 Ty Gibbs, 4. 50 Carson Hocevar, 5. 25 Brandon Jones, 6. 54 Riley Herbst, 7. 17 Taylor Gray, 8. 2 Nick Sanchez, 9. 32 Austin Wayne Self, 10. 21 Jack Wood, 11. 46 Thad Moffitt, 12. 28 Kyle Sieg, 13. 30 Kris Wright, 14. 23 Sam Mayer (-1L), 15. 15 Drew Dollar (-1L), 16. 73 Andy Jankowiak (-2L), 17. 27 Tim Richmond (-2L), 18. 11 Ed Pompa (-2L), 19. 10 Arnout Kok (-2L), 20. 74 Chris Werth (-2L), 21. 69 Russ Lane (-4L), 22. 42 Tyler Ankrum (-11L), 23. 14 Chase Briscoe (Suspension), 24. 60 Brad Perez (-16L), 25. 3 Dale Quarterley (Crash), 26. 12 Tony Cosentino (Rear Gear), 27. 01 DL Wilson (Brakes), 28. 48 Brad Smith (Brakes), 29. 77 Ed Bull (DNS)
Polesitter: 18 Gibbs (119.754 mph)