By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
Ty Gibbs has been without a doubt the guy when it comes to the ARCA Menards Series this season.
Currently holding a series-leading seven victories and a seven-point lead over Corey Heim as the series heads to Watkins Glen. He’ll make start number 40 on Friday, and so far has been the talk of the town with his performance in the ARCA Menards Series. Gibbs attributes that his runs in ARCA are purely meant to give him seat time and the number one goal is to win races.
“Just really getting seat time and experience,” Gibbs told Kickin’ the Tires. “The ARCA Series is a good series and the goal is to win races, which we’ve done, but we want to win more and get more experience. I think any seat time is good. The cars are a bit different compared to the Xfinity Series cars, but it helps to get laps at any track and at the end of the day, it’s about being competitive.”
Despite not many feeling that Gibbs career in ARCA will last very long, he’s been able to grow as a driver in the ARCA Menards Series. Making his debut at Five Flags Speedway in 2019, he’s come a long way and has ultimately brewed discussions recently of moving up to the next level, whichever that may be.
“The ARCA Series is a really good series and a lot of drivers have come out of it and had super successful careers. It’s a good series for the young guys, but also has a lot of veterans. I grow with every race and hopefully I’m getting better each week too.”
He’s also found his way up the all-time win list in ARCA, something that not many drivers get the opportunity to do with such a short tenure. After his win last weekend at Winchester, Gibbs is just one win away from tying Jim Romine, Benny Parsons, Bruce Gould, Bob Strait, and Grant Enfinger for 18th on the all-time wins list. Despite hitting a number that hasn’t been hit since 2017, Gibbs isn’t looking at the record books just yet.
“I don’t really look at records too much,” said Gibbs. “It’s nice to be up there, I guess, but again, it’s just about winning races. We can look at records many years from now.”
Speaking of some of the legends in ARCA, racing for Joe Gibbs Racing has its perks. Gibbs has been able to work alongside current NASCAR Cup Series drivers in his career. Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell hold three ARCA wins apiece while Martin Truex Jr. has five ARCA East victories. Gibbs attributes the help and advice from his Joe Gibbs Racing mentors has helped him in his career so far.
“Kyle is super talented, but so are Martin (Truex Jr.), Denny (Hamlin), and Christopher (Bell). All four are really good drivers and I can lean on them for advice and that is super helpful.”
The ARCA Menards Series races at multiple tracks in markets where the top-three divisions don’t currently compete. Gibbs earned the victory at Iowa Speedway just two weeks ago and nearly earned the victory at Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota. In a time where stand-alone events for the top-three series are extremely rare, Gibbs says he wants to put on a good show for the fans that may only get to see one race a year.
“Laps are always good and we’re going for the ARCA championship, so I’ll race wherever we need to,” said Gibbs. All three of those tracks are good and we want to put on a good show for the fans too especially if that’s the only race they get to attend in the year.”
Gibbs was very vocal earlier this year at Daytona when the Venturini teammates of Drew Dollar and Corey Heim worked together to “steal” the season-opening victory. Lack of teammates in a series where they are very important is something that Gibbs has become all-too-familiar with. Joe Gibbs Racing’s presence in ARCA hasn’t been much more than Gibbs but in 2021, the organization added Sammy Smith to their ranks in the East series. The final East races are run in conjunction with the national ARCA series which means, Gibbs has a teammate.
“It’s always nice to have a teammate,” said Gibbs. “It’s definitely beneficial for both of us. Sammy has done a great job this year and we need to help each other any way we can.”