ARCA: Taylor Gray wins in Phoenix
Racing with a heavy heart after the loss of David Gilliland Racing hauler driver Steven Stotts in traffic accident on Tuesday, Taylor Gray earned his first ARCA Menards Series victory Friday night during the General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway.
The 16-year-old Gray had to survive multiple challenges throughout Friday’s race. He first battled with defending ARCA Menards Series East champion Sammy Smith and later battled his way past GMS Racing’s Daniel Dye during a restart on lap 138 to take the lead for the final time.
Gray retained the lead during two more restarts, including a green-white-checkered restart, in the final portion of the race to claim the victory at the one-mile tri-oval.
The General Tire 150 served as the second race of the ARCA Menards Series season as well as the first race of the ARCA Menards Series West and Sioux Chief Showdown seasons.
“It felt like they didn’t want me to win tonight,” said Gray, who led a race-high 76 laps. “All those guys are really tough to beat. We just had a really good race car tonight.”
Gray paid tribute to Stotts as well as two other crew members who were injured in the crash, John Zaverl and Michael Mizzelle, following his victory.
Dye finished second after taking the lead during the second half of the race and, at one point, leading by more than four seconds. He blamed the decision to restart in the top lane on lap 138 for costing him a shot at the victory.
“We had a great car. GMS brought a really good Chevrolet,” Dye said. “Led a lot of laps. Just came down to a decision that I’ll never make again to pick the top at Phoenix on the money restart.”
Smith, driving the No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, finished third after leading most of the first half of the race.
“We had a really good car the first 75 and then probably 25 laps after that and then it just went really, really tight,” Smith said. “I’m not sure what quite happened. Just really frustrated to end it like that.”
Rajah Caruth finished fourth after running as high as second in the final laps. Jake Drew was the highest finishing ARCA Menards Series West regular in the field in fifth.
Jesse Love, Nick Sanchez, Josh Berry, Derek Kraus and Connor Mosack completed the top-10.
|1||17||Taylor Gray *||Ford Performance Ford||154||0.000s|
|2||43||Daniel Dye *||GMS Racing Chevrolet||154||0.344|
|3||18||Sammy Smith||TMC Toyota||154||0.987|
|4||61||Rajah Caruth *||Max Siegel Inc Chevrolet||154||1.098|
|5||6||Jake Drew *||Sunrise Racing Ford||154||1.474|
|6||20||Jesse Love||Crescent Tools Toyota||154||1.558|
|7||2||Nick Sanchez||Universal Technical Institute Chevrolet||154||1.691|
|8||17W||Josh Berry||MMI Chevrolet||154||1.974|
|9||19||Derek Kraus||NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet||154||2.121|
|10||23||Connor Mosack *||Nic Taylor Chevrolet||154||2.682|
|11||99||Cole Moore||BBB Industries Chevrolet||154||2.769|
|12||13||Todd Souza||Central Coast Cabinets Ford||154||2.88|
|13||54||Joey Iest||Richwood Meats/Basila Farms Ford||154||3.344|
|14||16||Austin Herzog *||NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet||154||3.543|
|15||25||Toni Breidinger *||HAIRCLUB Toyota||154||3.851|
|16||9||Tanner Reif *||Vegas Fastener Manufacturing Ford||154||4.703|
|17||33||Paul Pedroncelli Jr||Select Mobile Bottlers Toyota||153||1 Lap|
|18||7||Takuma Koga||Rise Up Toyota||151||3 Laps|
|19||86||Tim Spurgeon||Davids Racing Products/Nascimento Toyota||150||4 Laps|
|20||15||Parker Chase *||Vertical Bridge Toyota||147||7 Laps|
|21||3||Alex Clubb||Flowers with Jazz & Jane Martin Ford||145||9 Laps|
|22||85||Ryan Roulette *||Bellator Recruting Academy Toyota||144||10 Laps|
|23||88||Bridget Burgess||HMH Construction Chevrolet||142||12 Laps|
|24||12||D.L. Wilson||Leggott Trailers of Waco Chevrolet||133||21 Laps|
|25||4||Sebastian Arias *||Rubbermaid Commercial Prod/Brady IFS Toyota||126||28 Laps|
|26||27||Bobby Hillis Jr||First Impression Press Chevrolet||124||30 Laps|
|27||42||Christian Rose *||Visit West Virginia Toyota||109||45 Laps|
|28||11||Bryce Haugeberg *||Magnum Contracting Toyota||89||65 Laps|
|29||10||Zachary Tinkle *||Wayne Peterson Racing/Fast Track Toyota||81||73 Laps|
|30||30||Amber Balcaen *||Icon Ford||56||98 Laps|
|31||21||Chris Lowden *||Stoney’s Roadhouse/Blue Valor Whiskey Ford||54||100 Laps|
|32||70||Kyle Keller *||Third3ye/Eros Environmental/Battle Born Chevrolet||45||109 Laps|
|33||1||Tim Monroe||Fast Track High Performance Driving Chevrolet||42||112 Laps|
|34||48||Brad Smith||PSST Chevrolet||35||119 Laps|
|35||39||Andrew Tuttle *||Gearhead Coffee Chevrolet||26||128 Laps|
|36||35||Greg Van Alst *||CB Fabricating Ford||11||143 Laps|
|37||7||Brian Kaltreider||Mystic Motorsports Ford||2||152 Laps|
|38||31||Paul Pedroncelli||Rancho Victoria Weddings Chevrolet||1||153 Laps|
|39||66||Eric Rhead||Jones Racing Chevrolet||0||154 Laps|