Wild and crazy doesn’t even begin to describe the finish of the Primera Plastics 200 for the ARCA Racing Series at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway on Saturday night. However, the word “controversial” does a pretty solid job instead.
New Jersey’s Joe Graf, Jr. got the victory on Saturday, his first ARCA win. But while he may have gotten the trophy, he definitely didn’t make any friends.
Graf made hard contact with Chandler Smith as they battled for the win in turn three coming to the white flag. Smith went for a spin and that resulted in a one-lap dash for the win.
On the ensuing restart, Graf’s No. 77 clearly struggled, allowing Zane Smith to get ahead. As they went back to turn three, Graf made more hard contact, this time with Zane Smith, and beat Smith to the line by 0.041-second to get the victory.
The ending left onlookers stunned, and left his fellow competitors quite angry.
— Zane Smith (@zanesmith41) August 26, 2018
You choked on the restart after wrecking the 20 I cleared you And Yes! You did just “drive through” both of us you’re a tool that is a ARCAs finest😂
— Zane Smith (@zanesmith77) August 26, 2018
— Christian Eckes (@christianeckes) August 26, 2018
Billy Venturini, the owner of the Venturini Motorsports No. 20 driven by Chandler Smith, was also outspoken after the race.
“Proud of my @VenturiniMotor team and @CSmithDrive. Also grateful to be able to race an awesome @ToyotaRacing Camry. Chandler earned the win. The other driver is just downright dirty. No respect for that.
Venturini followed that up with the Tweet below:
49 Arca wins for us and not one has ever come from dumping someone for the win. So shove it dude https://t.co/ngN6KIhfd3
— Billy Venturini (@BillyVenturini) August 26, 2018
Former ARCA Racing Series winner, Chad Finley, also joined in on Twitter.
Man. Not the way to win your first arca race @Joegrafjr @zanesmith41 hit the nail right on the head. Hate it for @CSmithDrive had an awesome race car and it is a shame kids have to race that way! #whatgoesaroundcomesaround
— Chad Finley (@Chad_Finley) August 26, 2018
Joe Graf Jr. hit send on a few tweets/replies but those tweets have since been deleted. He left just one tweet on his account related to the night.
We did it. Took the 🏁 berlinraceway last night. I can’t think bigtineofficial and my chadbryantracing guys enough for making this possible. Battled back from two laps down to get our first… https://t.co/znbDfapb1Y
— Joe Graf Jr (@Joegrafjr) August 27, 2018
ARCA Racing Series drivers won’t have a long time to let their emotions calm down as they’ll be back on track this coming Monday, September 3. They’ll be back on the dirt at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. An already interesting race is bound to be even more interesting and exciting thanks to Saturday’s action at Berlin.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: ARCA Racing Series