Story By: JASON CHRISTLEY / ARCA – AVONDALE, AZ – Chandler Smith made a gamble call, and it paid off.
The 17-year-old from Talking Rock, Georgia, used pit strategy to get his No. 20 JBL Toyota out front of the ARCA Menards Series field, and he held off Ty Gibbs and Michael Self in a two-lap sprint to the finish to win Friday night’s General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway.
The race was also the first of 10 races in the Sioux Chief Showdown.
On the last pit stop, Smith’s team elected to change just two tires, which allowed him to start at the front.
The victory was Smith’s eighth in 21 ARCA Menards Series starts. He is running the full Sioux Chief Showdown schedule, as well as the ARCA Menards Series races at Kansas, Pocono and Springfield.
Michael Self, the Daytona winner, overcame early electrical issues to nip Gibbs at the line by .022 seconds for second. Gibbs, who was fastest in practice and won the General Tire Pole Award, settled for a disappointing third-place finish.
“I kicked their butts all day, the car was just so good,” Gibbs said. “We drove away from them and at the end there, we just got jacked. I was happy with how we ran. It just sucks what happend at the end.”
Tanner Gray finished fourth and Zane Smith fifth.
Nick Sanchez wound up sixth, followed by Hailie Deegan, Chase Cabre, Lawless Alan and Gio Scelzi.
The runner-up finish allowed Self to leave with a 13-point lead over Deegan after two ARCA Menards Series races, while Smith leads the Sioux Chief Showdown standings.
The ARCA Menards Series will return to the track on Sunday, April 19 for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway. The race will also be the second Sioux Chief Showdown race.
Friday’s General Tire 150 aired live on FS1 and MRN. It will be available on Video On Demand (VOD) on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.