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Heim snags Pocono win from Gibbs

Corey Heim stands on pit road at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida for the season-opening race in the ARCA Menards Series East tour. (Credit Corey Heim’s Instagram)

Five in a row was not to be for Ty Gibbs as Corey Heim bested him to win Friday’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire 200 at Pocono Raceway.

Heim claimed his third win of the 2021 season, with a margin of victory of 2.8 seconds ahead of Gibbs.

Coming into Friday’s race, Heim led the points standings by one point over Gibbs but Gibbs had led 70 percent of the laps and won five of the seven races run, including four race wins in a row.

Gibbs led the first 12 laps, which included a caution for Nick Igdalsky spinning on Lap 8. On the restart, Chandler Smith passed Gibbs for the lead. Smith held the lead and Gibbs eventually fell back to second on a Lap 26 restart following Scott Melton leaking fluid on the track. During the caution, Sam Mayer hit a driveshaft and blew an engine, which took him out of the race on Lap 19.

Smith held control of the lead even as Jack Wood stayed out to lead during a Lap 34 restart following Bryan Dauzat spinning. However, Gibbs returned to form and took the lead from Smith on Lap 39. Gibbs, Smith and Corey Heim battled each other before Gibbs pulled away. The lead was erased by a Lap 54 caution for Don Thompson stalling on pit road.

Jason Kitzmiller stayed out and took the lead from Ty Gibbs for the Lap 59 restart, which would be the last hurrah for Kitzmiller’s day. Kitzmiller crashed with Jack Wood between turns two and three, which caused each driver to fall out of the race.

On the ensuing restart, Chandler Smith attempted a three-wide pass on Ty Gibbs, which Gibbs blocked.

Smith and Gibbs made contact, resulting in Smith making a bold save and giving each car damage. Smith pitted but Gibbs stayed out despite left-rear fender damage.

Gibbs closed to within 0.5 seconds of Corey Heim but was unable to catch and pass him, leading to Heim’s third win of the 2021 ARCA Menards Series season.

Top 10 Finishers were as follows: Corey Heim, Ty Gibbs, Drew Dollar, Nick Sanchez, Thad Moffitt, Kyle Sieg, Andy Jankowiak, Jade Buford, Sean Corr, Ryan Huff.

Corey Heim leads the ARCA Menards Series standings by four points over Ty Gibbs as the series heads to Elko Speedway July 10 (10 p.m. ET; TV: MAVTV, NBC TrackPass).

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