Rivalries, they’ve been around since the early days of NASCAR. Some of the most memorable include Petty vs. Pearson, Earnhardt vs. Gordon, Yarborough vs. the Allisons, and Waltrip vs. Yarborough and Earnhardt. Some of the most well known rivalries of recent years are Elliott vs. Joe Gibbs Racing, Truex vs. Logano, Busch vs. Penske, and Gragson vs. The Field. But one of the most prominent rivalries of the 2021 season is Haim vs. Gibbs in the ARCA Menards Series.
Corey Haim and Ty Gibbs have been neck and neck in the points standings all season long. This has led to a heated rivalry between the two since race one at Daytona International Speedway. Heim, with the help of his teammate Drew Dollar, claimed victory in the first race of the season. To say that Gibbs was upset about this was an understatement. Both Gibbs and 2020 ARCA Menards Series champion Bret Holmes took to accusing the Venturini teammates of cheating, after finishing third and fourth. Holmes stated, “I don’t know the rules on locking bumpers…if they did and if it’s in the rules, it’s wrong. If they didn’t, then it’s fine.” While Gibbs claimed, “…I feel like if I did that I wouldn’t even want to be out here letting people win the race…you’re not allowed to lock bumpers and they did…”
The most recent incident between the two took place at Winchester Speedway located in Winchester, Indiana. Haim was leading the race with three to go when Gibbs came up behind him, tapping his left rear bumper. The contact sent Haim around which led to the caution being dropped on lap 197. This incident led to a first place finish for Gibbs and a third place finish for Haim. When contacted and asked what he would do about it, he simply said to tune in to see what goes down in the next race at Watkins Glen International. By the end of the race at the Glen the following week Haim came out victorious. He didn’t waste time worrying about what he would do to Gibbs other than beat him.
The two have finished in the top five in thirteen of the fifteen races so far this season. That has led to a one point difference between the two with third place, Thad Moffitt, 150 points behind Haim. Haim, the older of the two (19), has won six out of the fifteen races, while Gibbs (18) has won eight out of the fifteen. This leaves the race at Berlin Raceway which was won by seventeen-year-old Daniel Dye. These young guns have not only taken the ARCA Menards Series by storm, but have also taken to Xfinity, Trucks as well as the ARCA East and West series. Gibbs has amassed three wins in four starts in the Xfinity Series, winning his first in his first ever start. While doing so he also ran in the East and West series taking three wins as well. As for Haim he has made two starts in Trucks along with a start in both the East and West series.
With five races left in the season and time winding down, fans, teams and drivers alike are eager to see how this long standing battle will end. Who will end out on top, claiming the coveted title of ARCA Menards Series Champion? Will it be rising Xfinity star Ty Gibbs? Or will it be Georgia boy Corey Haim? It will all come down to who crosses the finish line first at Kansas Speedway.