Chalk Saturday up to a learning experience for Ty Gibbs.
The 15-year-old grandson of NASCAR Cup Series team owner Joe Gibbs arguably had the fastest car at Myrtle Beach Speedway in the Late Model Stock portion of the CARS Tour BakerDist.com 200 but didn’t have the right strategy.
He won just his second career pole and first in CARS Tour competition, leading the first 45 laps, which in hindsight was probably the wrong approach. While veteran drivers like Lee Pulliam, Josh Berry, Deac McCaskill and Bryant Barnhill dropped to the back, Gibbs set a blistering pace, almost lapping the drivers saving their tires.
CARS Tour rules mandate a caution after 40 consecutive green flag laps so the veteran drivers were guaranteed a caution of some kind during the first half. They lagged back because Myrtle Beach has one of the most abrasive racing surfaces in the discipline and the BakerDist.com 200 was only a four-tire race.
Gibbs only led five more laps after the break, eventually falling outside of the top-10 by Lap 70. He was running just outside of the top-10 when several cars came together in Turns 3 and 4, sending Gibbs around.
He finished 22nd, taking a notebook of things to study for the remainder of the season.
“It was tire fall off, we fought a tight race car all day, but I think we could have been better if I had managed them better,” Gibbs said after the race. “My guys did a great job all day. It’s such a tough race track. It’s probably the toughest race track I’ve been to yet. I think maybe we could have made more of it, if we were a little free-er, but we couldn’t make any adjustments after qualifying. I learned a lot today.”
Ultimately, the strategy of riding in the back of the field prevailed as Lee Pulliam went from worst to first over the final 50 laps to win his first career CARS Tour race.
Qualified on the pole! Led 45 laps and we were a little tight all day but at the end we got takin out by a car that got loose under us great day we are improving a lot! pic.twitter.com/qe8dKhpP0r
— Ty Gibbs (@TyGibbs_) March 24, 2018
Cassie Fambro contributed to this report
Read more Short Track Scene:
- South Boston Preview and Fan Guide
- Jeff Fultz wins CARS Tour SLM Myrtle Beach
- Molly Helmuth impresses at Myrtle Beach