SPARTA, Ky. — Ty Gibbs kept his race car off the wall and, in the end, put it in victory lane.
The Charlotte, N.C., driver managed to avoid spinning into the wall while battling for the lead with just less than 40 laps to go, and then charged back to the front to win the ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.
In the process, Gibbs became the youngest winner in the track’s history at 17 years, nine months, seven days. He eclipsed the record set by Kyle Busch, who had just turned 18 when he won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1.5-mile track in 2004.
Gibbs, the grandson of NASCAR and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs and a JGR development driver, took a page from Busch’s book when he saved the car from a potential race-ending wreck. Gibbs was attempting to fend off a charge from Michael Self on a restart following the second of two race breaks. When the two got together, the contact sent them sideways out of the groove — and out of the lead.
Once he got the No. 18 Monster/Terrible Herbst/ORCA Toyota righted, Gibbs was able to pick his way back to the front. He passed Bret Holmes — who had inherited the lead during the dust-up — and drove away to a win by 1.247 seconds.
It marked Gibbs’ second win in four ARCA Menards Series starts this year, and his seventh win across the ARCA Menards, East and West series over the last two seasons.
Friday’s victory also helped him rebound from one of his worst career finishes a week ago, when engine issues left him 15th at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
Holmes, who was chasing his first career win in 67 starts, instead had to settle for a career-best second-place.
Self wound up making his way back through as well to salvage a third-place run. It was his sixth straight top 10 to start the season. Sam Mayer and Drew Dollar were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Ty Gibbs, Bret Holmes, Michael Self, Sam Mayer, Drew Dollar, Ryan Repko, Derek Griffith, Ryan Huff, Tanner Gray, Jason Kitzmiller, Willie Mullins, Brad Smith, Dick Doheny, Hailie Deegan, Thad Moffitt, Don Thompson, Scott Melton.