The ARCA Menards Series visited Phoenix Raceway this past weekend for their series debut. A total of about 25 cars made the field with no one going home. Only one car withdrew from the entry list and that was the No. 48 of Brad Smith. As expected in the ARCA Series, the Venturini Motorsports teams are tough to beat, even when they faced some adversity throughout the General Tire 150. Despite Chandler Smith (No relation to Brad) not dominating the whole race as Ty Gibbs did, he found himself with an opportunity to win with a one-lap to go restart. With the Venturini teams taking the top two spots, there were some stories race fans might have missed in the second race of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season.
- Chandler Smith Scores Surprise Win At Phoenix – As mentioned, Smith didn’t dominate the whole race and didn’t seem to even have the car to win. But, a late-race yellow saw the Venturini cars come down pit road and Smith got the two-tire call. After one final caution, the Talking Rock, Georgia native found himself P1 on the last lap restart. There were some final hard charges from Ty Gibbs and teammate Michael Self in the last turn, but Smith held them off to score his eighth career ARCA Menards Series win.
- Armani Williams Places 17th In Series Debut – Probably one of the most unique stories of the night was Detroit, Michigan native Armani Williams finishing 17th in the first race of his career. What makes it an interesting story is that Williams was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 5. Despite being diagnosed, that does not slow down the Michigan native as he is living his dream of being a racecar driver. Williams had a partnership from Centria Autism, a nationally known provider that does therapy and provides varied services, as well as injury services. Nonetheless, this was one of the stories overlooked. Williams has six NASCAR Pinty Series starts, two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and East Series starts. His best finish in his young NASCAR career so far is ninth in the Pinty Series that came in 2018 at New Hampshire.
- Bret Holmes Black Flagged After Restart Confusion – Late in the race following a caution, there was some confusion regarding the restart order as to who was restarting where. As a result, several laps were wasted in trying to figure out the restart order. One driver, unfortunately, caught the backlash and that was the No. 23 of Bret Holmes. Holmes was penalized for a restart violation and relegated to a disappointing 15th place finish, four laps down. A forgettable night for sure for the family owned team.
- Sam Mayer Has Disappointing Season Opener – Anytime Sam Mayer is entered in the field whether it is the ARCA East or ARCA West Series, he is a fan favorite to win the race. Mayer was making his first start of the season at Phoenix Raceway and had hoped to make some noise as he had done in the first two races of the season falling under the East and West category. Mayer qualified fourth and was in contention for a top-five finish in the mid-stages of the race. However, a mechanical issue took out the GMS Racing driver late in the race on Lap 87. Mayer was credited with a 20th place finish.