Nick Sanchez pulls shocker in ARCA Reese’s 150 auto race at Kansas Speedway

·2 min read

Nick Sanchez never let Ty Gibbs out of his sight.

Gibbs led the first 100 laps of Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Reese’s 150 at Kansas Speedway until a green-white-checkered finish forced overtime.

That’s when Sanchez, a second-year ARCA driver in his 22nd career start, blew past Gibbs and Corey Heim and won the first race of his ARCA career by 0.146 seconds.

Gibbs, with 10 victories this season — including a wire-to-wire win at Kansas in May — had already been crowned ARCA series champion by virtue of merely starting the race. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that he would cap the night with a doubleheader sweep after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Kansas Lottery 300 earlier in the day

But Sanchez, a native of Miami, Fla., whose best ARCA finishes this year were third-place showings at Talladega, Toledo and Michigan, blew past the two ARCA points leaders in his No. 2 Chevrolet.

“I wish we could have won the race,” Gibbs said, “but we won the championship. Big picture, that was awesome.”

Sanchez, meanwhile, needed the perfect re-start in the final two laps to steal the race.

“I was just trying to take the aero from them,” said Sanchez, who finished ninth in the spring race at Kansas. “That last re-start we executed perfectly. We were in it all day, and the last re-start went in our favor. It’s been like two years since I’ve won, and to finally get one in ARCA, in a mile-and-a-half like Kansas, it couldn’t have been better.”

The win capped a big week for Sanchez, 20, following an announcement that he will drive a limited Xfinity Series schedule next year for B.J. McLeod in addition to full-time ARCA racing.

“Momentum … ” said Sanchez. “It took us all 20 races to get here, but we got it. Doing some Xfinity racing next year, I couldn’t be happier and have a lot more confidence.”

Sanchez’s crew chief, Steve Plattenberger, wasn’t surprised by the victory.

“He’s good,” Plattenberger said of Sanchez. “He never quits, he never gives up. He’s going to make somebody one heck of a race car driver one day. He’s just awesome.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting