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Derek Kraus Celebrates Championship as Ty Gibbs Survives Overtime To Win at ISM

AVONDALE, Ariz. — The 2019 K&N Pro Series West season finale showcased the up and coming talent in NASCAR. And when the lights shined the brightest, the young drivers delivered.

Derek Kraus officially clinched the series championship by taking the green flag, and allowed himself to get a little introspective once the title was finalized.

“It’s a dream come true to become a NASCAR champion and it’s all because of you guys,” he said over the radio.

Dream: meet reality.

After failing pre-race inspection and starting in the rear, Kraus fought his way to finish inside the top five for the 11th time this season. Once he made the trip to Victory Lane, the gravity of what he’d just accomplished began to sink in.

“It feels really good,” Kraus said with a smile ear to ear. “We had a really good season this year. If we had a bad night, we were able to capitalize on it and do as much as we could do make the bad night as good as we could.”

“I really can’t thank all these (Bill McAnally Racing) guys enough. They work their tails off on this race car to get it as good as it is every single race. And to finish the year out strong finishing fourth after starting towards the back of the field, it was a really good night and I’m really excited for the following years.”

Kraus’ third full-time season in the series resulted in seven total wins (five West, two East) and an average finish of 4.0, a series best.

Further up front, Sam Mayer controlled the majority of the race, leading 68 laps total. But restarts plagued the 2019 K&N East champion all evening long, as he lost the lead to Ty Gibbs in Turns 1 and 2 with a little over 30 laps remaining

Gibbs, who didn’t give the lead up after taking it on Lap 71, was able to hold off Mayer for two green/white/checkered overtime restarts and win his first career K&N West race and second this season.

“There was a lot going on there,” Gibbs said of the finish to the Arizona Lottery 100. “Those restarts really kind of got me flustered there. I got nervous for a little bit. I could really set (Mayer) up on the restarts. That’s where I could get him the most. We just persevered, started in the back and the car was so good that we got to Victory Lane, it was a cool day.”

The win for Gibbs came under the Levin Racing banner in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing. The win is the team’s second in the organizations history (Sheldon Creed, Las Vegas 2018).

Corey Heim of Chad Bryant Racing crossed the finish line third. He was credited with a 25th-place finish, however. The No. 22 team, at the request of NASCAR Competition officials, ran an Illmor engine. NASCAR officials and the No. 22 agreed the team would be placed last in the official results regardless of their finish in the running order.

Kraus officially finished third, with his Bill McAnally Racing teammate Hailie Deegan fourth and Scottsdale, Arizona native Jagger Jones rounding out the top five.

Brittney Zamora, Trenton Moriarity, Trevor Huddleston, Todd Souza and Riley Herbst completed the top 10.

With his fifth place effort, Jones earned the runner-up spot in the 2019 standings, three points ahead of Deegan, who finished third. Huddleston and Zamora round out the top five.

The Arizona Lottery 100 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, November 14 at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Touring Awards Banquet will take place on Saturday, November 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Jagger Jones Returns Home for First Race at ISM Raceway

AVONDALE, Arizona — The Arizona Lottery 100 at ISM Raceway was the final stop on the circuit for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, but was also the first race in a NASCAR sanctioned series at his hometown facility for Jagger Jones.

“This is my first time racing here at ISM Raceway and it’s obviously so different from watching in the stands,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED.  “Growing up watching the races here and now being able to race here is super cool. I’m looking forward to it, it’s cool to be the local kid for once because usually I’m traveling all around the west coast – all around the country really for races, so it’s cool to race here in my hometown.”

The Scottsdale, Arizona-Native entered the series finale ranked second in the standings – and this was as high as he could soar, being that all points leader Derek Kraus had to do at the 1.5-mile speedway was start the race to lock up the 2019 Championship.

Jones would go on to put down a sixth-best qualifying lap, putting him on the outside of Drew Dollar to start the 100 Lap event.

“We have a really competitive field here this weekend,” the 17-year old admitted. “We’ve struggled a little bit on the bigger tracks for our series, so I think if we can get up inside the top-five it’ll be a good say for us.”

When the green flag waved atop the unique LED-cactus flag stand, Sam Mayer raced from the lead and did not surrender that position until 12 laps remaining – when race-winner Ty Gibbs passed him after the 16-year old made contact with Ty Majeski on a three-wide restart.

A good majority of the race was a product of single-file long-run racing in which Jones saw himself mainly battling with fan-favorite, Hailie Deegan for the eighth-spot.  After a healthy-dose of cautions in the final 30 laps of the race, Jones didn’t quite salvage that top-five he’d hoped to attain in pre-race, finishing sixth.

The driver of the No. 6 was able to hold on to the second-ranked position in the standings. He finished the year with eight top-fives, 11 top-10s, one pole award, 248 laps led and his first win – which came at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.

It’s safe to say that after what can be deemed an incredibly impressive season that Jones will be one of the young talents who will be in NASCAR for years to come.

“We’re setting up things for next season,” said the Arizona-native. “They’re changing the whole series in 2020, so we’re just trying to put everything together for that. Next year I want to run a lot of races and win as many as I can – those are my main goals for he offseason.”

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

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Ty Gibbs Earns First Career K&N Pro Series Victory at New Hampshire

LOUDON, N.H. — After four runner-up finishes, Ty Gibbs finally did one better at New Hampshire.

The DGR-Crosley driver led a race-high 112 laps in Saturday’s Apple Barrel 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway en route to his first career K&N Pro Series East victory, coming in his sixth start overall and first at NHMS.

“It’s really cool, man,” Gibbs said post-race. “I came here, and it’s a hard track, a fun track too. Just a little tight there but once we worked on it, we got better. Super cool to win here.”

Gibbs earned three straight second-place finishes this season to begin his career. Add in a fourth-place run at Watkins Glen as well as another runner-up at Bristol, he was poised to earn his first checkered flag.

It was a matter of when, not if.

“You work so hard for this stuff and finishing second the last four times I’ve raced, it sucks,” he admitted. “It’s heartbreaking. But once you get that win, it feels so good. I feel so good right now. Plus to have two (won last weekend in the ARCA Menards Series at Salem Speedway), it’s just a great deal.”

Gibbs has earned two wins (Salem and Gateway) in the ARCA Menards Series this season, garnering seven top fives as well.

His teammate Tanner Gray came home in second, earning his best finish since winning at South Boston in May and his first top five since the first Loudon race.

Josh Berry, making his third career series start and first with Visconti Motorsports, came home third, with Gateway winner Spencer Davis and championship points leader Sam Mayer rounding out the top five.

Chase Cabre led 13 laps from the pole, but fell back on the restart following the second scheduled break due to what he and the team called a “bad set of tires.” His Rev Racing teammates Ruben Garcia Jr. and Nick Sanchez finished seventh and eighth, with Justin Carroll and Robert Pawlowski completing the top 10.

Max McLaughlin, running a tribute paint scheme to the late Mike Stefanik, finished 13 laps down in 12th after experiencing electrical issues late.

Mayer’s maintained his 30-point championship points lead over Chase Cabre heading into the final race of the season, and has virtually wrapped up his first NASCAR championship. He must finish 27th or better at Dover to clinch the title.

The Apple Barrell 125 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, September 25 at 6 p.m.

The final K&N Pro Series East event of the season will take place at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, October 4.

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Ty Gibbs Scores Clean Sweep with Dominant Victory in ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway

Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) scored a dominant victory in Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. Gibbs thoroughly dominated the entire day as he led the day’s practice session, set the fast time in General Tire Pole Qualifying, and led every green flag lap to score his second career series victory.

“That’s all due to my right foot, the guys who build these great racecars and the man upstairs,” Gibbs said in victory lane. “It’s great to come out here and get our second win of the season. We aren’t racing for the championship so it’s all about wins for us.”

Gibbs finished two seconds ahead of Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), who moved to within five points of championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), who suffered a mechanical problem and finished 14th.

“It’s great to have Salem behind us,” Eckes said. “This isn’t my favorite track and to come out of here with that big of a gain on Michael is huge for us. It sucks we couldn’t get up there and race Ty for the win but we’ll take second and head to Indianapolis and go race for the win there.”

Self was dejected after giving up 65 of his 70-point lead over Eckes.

“We’ve had too many mechanical problems this season,” Self said. “All we want to go is come out here and race for wins. We’re going to put tonight behind us and go to Indy and Kansas to go win some races.”

Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) finished third, Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Toyota) was fourth and Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) finished fifth.

Just as Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) did in a dominant performance to win last fall at Salem, Gibbs led every green flag lap. He led from the initial start through lap 172 when he was beat off pit road by Eckes. Gibbs retook the lead on the restart at lap 176 and we never headed.

The race was slowed five times by cautions. The first, at lap 23, was for debris, while the second, at lap 75, was for Gavin Harlein (No. 55 Autism Awareness #4Presley Toyota), who experienced mechanical issues and stopped at the entrance to pit road. The third caution of the night was for engine issues for Tim Richmond (No. 06 GreatRailing.com Dodge), and Ed Pompa (No. 11 Milwaukee Crusher/Double H Ranch Toyota) – whose Darrell Waltrip-themed throwback scheme earned him the first Jack Harrison Trophy in a fan vote during pre-race festivities – spun on lap 170 to set up the final round of pit stops that allowed Eckes to assume the lead. The fifth and final caution, again for debris, was displayed on lap 186 and set up a nine-lap dash to the checkered for Gibbs.

There were two lead changes among Gibbs and Eckes, and the race was completed in one hour, 26 minutes, and 54 seconds at an average speed of 76.640 miles per hour.

The ARCA Menards Series will take two weekends off before returning to action on Saturday October 5 with the Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. Practice starts the day’s activities at 2 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET. The 200-lap main event, scheduled for live broadcast MAVTV, will go green shortly after 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. Discounted adult general admission tickets are available through October 4 at Indianapolis-area Menards locations for just $20. For more information, please visit TrackEnterprises.com.

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Ty Gibbs Takes First ARCA Menards Series Win with Last Lap Pass in Day to Day Coffee 150 at WWT Raceway

Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/Terrible Herbst/ORCA Coolers/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) scored his first career ARCA Menards Series win with a last-lap pass of Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) in Saturday’s Day to Day Coffee 150 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Gibbs had the dominant car over the last third of race, but came down pit road under the final caution flag of the night with ten laps to go. When the race restarted with six laps to go, Gibbs was eighth but he knifed his way through the field to second within three laps. He stalked Mayer the final three laps, and the two made contact in the final corners and Mayer drifted up the track and Gibbs went on to the victory.

“I had a pretty big gap coming to the white flag and I gained on him in turns one and two,” Gibbs said. “He overdrove it into three and four and gave me that shot and we’re at a short track so you might as well take it. It’s for the win and that’s pretty big. It’s a hard deal, but it’s been a long day. We had a motor issue and we fought back and won. It just shows how hard my guys work.”

“I come to the track every week with the same determination and mentality to win the race,” he continued. “Every single weekend we run as hard as we can. We are super excited to that that first win.”

Mayer ended up third, and was not thrilled with the events of the last lap.

“I didn’t get passed,” Mayer said. “We had a fifth or sixth place car and we ended up third, so that’s good. But we were leading at the white flag. The GMS Racing guys gave me a really great car and made great calls to give us chance to win the race. I am really happy to come out of here with a third-place finish, which is probably better than we were going to be without that last caution. But we didn’t get passed on the last lap, we got moved on the last lap.”

Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) was able to sneak past Mayer in turn four to take second behind Gibbs. Eckes immediately climbed aboard his Kyle Busch Motorsports-owned Truck to compete in the CarShield 200 for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He knew he didn’t have a shot to win without the last caution of the night, and his crew chief Kevin Reed made the only call he could to give him a chance to win.

“We had a great car but we weren’t going to catch Ty under green,” Eckes said. “We made the only call we could to pull off the win and we took it. We restarted second and finished second, so I guess it evened out. It was a great call by Kevin and the guys, and it was the only shot we had to win.”

Gibbs was joined post-race by his grandfather Joe Gibbs, team owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. The elder Gibbs is a member of the National Football Hall of Fame and is a 2020 inductee of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. While he has seen a lot of memorable moments in both sports, watching his grandson win for the first time was an emotional experience for the man everyone affectionately calls “Coach”.

“I’ve been lucky to see a lot of really special moments in both football and in racing, but this is up there near the top,” he said. “We had a lot of success in football, and I thought Denny (Hamlin) winning the Daytona 500 with J.D. on the car was as good as it could get. But this is really special. When that last caution came out and we restarted eighth I was just…I was really discouraged. But he did a great job. Coy (Gibbs, Ty’s father) was here tonight and it’s just special we can all be here to see this.”

Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) and Carson Hocevar (No. 28 GMPartsNow.com/Scott’s/KBR Development Chevrolet) rounded out the top five.

The race saw many challengers for the ARCA Menards Series championship fight bad luck. Leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) led the first 41 laps and was in contention for a top-five finish when he suffered a transmission issue on lap 87. Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Toyota) was involved in two spins, the first on lap 11 and the second on lap 68, damaging the car in the second incident. Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota), driving for the Venturini Motorsports team that leads the owner’s standings, was running among the lead pack when he broke an axle. Self finished 13th and unofficially maintains a 30-point advantage over Holmes, who finished tenth, and a 45-point advantage over seventh-place finisher Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) in third.

There were five cautions for 32 laps and the lead was traded seven times among seven drivers. Gibbs’s winning average speed was 97.773 miles per hour. His margin of victory over Eckes was 0.649 seconds.

The ARCA Menards Series returns to action on Thursday, June 28 in the Bounty 150 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Practice is scheduled to start at 1 pm ET/12 noon CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 5:35 pm ET/4:35 pm CT, and the 100-lap/150-mile feature event is set for 8 pm ET/7 pm CT. The race will be televised live on FS1; ARCA for Me users can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout each on-track session at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free at ARCARacing.com/login. Discounted tickets are available for just $10 at nearly 75 Chicagoland-area Menards locations until the close of business on Wednesday.

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Ty Gibbs, David Gilliland Suspended Three K&N Pro Series East Races

Even before the first green flag of the season has been flown, NASCAR is cracking down on teams with the first suspension of 2019 already handed out. DGR-Crosley Racing was the unlucky recipient, in relation to their NASCAR K&N Pro Series East program.

DGR-Crosley Racing was found in violation of section 12-5.3.7.1.5 of the NASCAR rulebook, which pertains to the series’ testing policy. According to the sanctioning body, the team conducted a private test with a NASCAR K&N Pro Series vehicle at a sanctioned track on the 2019 K&N Pro East Series Schedule, specifically New Smyrna Speedway.

The rule states that “private race vehicle testing by any NASCAR K&N Pro Series race team, contractor, affiliate, associate, subsidiary, or surrogate at any facility that appears on the Series schedule or that has been granted a Touring Series sanction will be prohibited regardless of rookie or veteran status.”

As a result, car owner David Gilliland and driver Ty Gibbs were both fined $5,000, and suspended from the first three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events; they were also assessed a 100 driver and owner point penalty. Additionally, car chief Chad Walters was fined $5,000 and suspended indefinitely. 

DGR-Crosley Racing has stated that they will appeal the penalty.

“This afternoon, NASCAR made us aware of a penalty they are imposing for actions that occurred during an ARCA Racing Series test at New Smyrna Speedway on January 14,” the team statement reads. “We strongly believe that we did not violate any rules and will therefore appeal the penalty immediately. While the appeals process runs its course, we will move forward and keep our focus on the upcoming season.”

Later in the afternoon, a NASCAR spokesperson released a statement in regards to why the penalty was given.

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Notably, NASCAR owns both the K&N Pro Series and ARCA, but agreed to continue to run ARCA independently through 2020.

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.