ARCA at Daytona always delivers, and the action was pumping from lap one. Andy Seuss went for a spin down the backstretch the first time by, trying to slip into the bottom lane. Contact was made, and Seuss’ top starting spot went to waste.
The No. 02 took some damage to the rear, but was able to continue.
ARCA veteran Michael Self controlled the early parts of this race in his Venturini Toyota through some choppy restarts.
After a few minor incidents, the race found its stride with a restart at lap 25. Sean Corr got the jump on Tanner Gray to take control of the pack to start the run. Gray fell back, but found teammate Hailie Deegan on the high side.
The Ford duo was able to push all the way up to the top spot, taking Corr three-wide for the lead. Through the battle, Bret Holmes found himself taking over the top spot.
A couple of laps later, the big one struck. As the field passed a lapped car on the low lane, lines merged and carnage ensued. Natalie Decker, David Gravel, Drew Dollar and Ryan Repko were a few of the big names involved. Roughly half the field was involved.
The first BIG ONE of Speedweeks.
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) February 8, 2020
The red flag was displayed on lap 39. After a brief delay, the green flag was back out on lap 44. Self reclaimed the top spot on the restart, followed by Riley Herbst, who narrowly escaped the big wreck just laps earlier.
A four-car breakaway — Self, Herbst, Holmes and Thad Moffitt — paced the field as Deegan and Gray formed the outside line in a second pack. That next group couldn’t get organized, as the trio of Self, Herbst and Holmes walked away.
Trying to get more organized, Deegan tucked in behind Chuck Hiers. But a bump draft went bad — and Hiers went hard into the fence. Deegan escaped without damage, but the fifth place car of Hiers was destroyed.
We went back to green with 27 to go. Self, once again, took control of the pack with help from Bret Holmes. Riley Herbst fell back on the start as the high line fizzled out. A single-line train formed featuring the top seven cars. Deegan, Gray and Dollar rounded out the new top five with the laps winding down.
Tanner Gray’s chance to win went up in smoke (literally) with under 15 to go. After smoking for a few laps, the engine let go on his No. 17 machine. Shortly after, a caution was thrown for debris unrelated to Gray.
The race’s key restart came with four to go. Self gained the lead again on the bottom, while Deegan moved to second behind him. Three to go… two to go… it was a single file line up front.
Drew Dollar entered the picture in third, but it didn’t matter. Deegan never got close enough to make her move, and a Venturini car behind her probably wasn’t going to help her to the win.
Michael Self captured the flag, dominating the entire race on his way to his eighth career win.
After the race, Deegan spoke about her decision to ride out a second place finish.
Deegan also says she is going to try to do a better job of not making enemies in 2020.
Racing on the tight bullrings of K&N West, she frequently found herself in conflict with her fellow competitors. pic.twitter.com/YQIMjQztaj
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) February 9, 2020
ARCA Top Ten at Daytona
2. Hailie Deegan
3. Drew Dollar
4. Sean Corr
5. Thad Moffitt
6. Jason White
7. Riley Herbst
8. Willie Mullins
9. Bret Holmes
10. Scott Melton