On Saturday, October 2, 2021, Zachary Tinkle was once again filling the seat of the #27 Richmond Racing for Tim Richmond at Salem Speedway in the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 in the ARCA Menards Series. Tim is still out due to injuries suffered at Michigan International Speedway earlier in the season. Tinkle was invited to pilot the car after his performances for the team at DuQuoin and Bristol.
Tinkle was looking forward to racing at Salem as he had raced there twice before in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. He had some good laps on used tires in practice getting a feel for the handling of the car. The team was able to make some slight adjustments and put on new tires to get ready for qualifying. He went out for his qualifying laps and qualified 15th out of a field of the top ARCA racers in the nation. Tinkle and the team were all very pleased because this was the best qualifying he had in the ARCA series- within tenths of seconds of the top cars ahead of him.
After a welcoming cheer from the crowd during driver introductions, Tinkle belted into the car ready for the 200 laps of the race. He was keeping a steady pace around the banks of Salem during the race, improving on his laps as he ran. With less than 40 laps completed during the race, a car hit him in the back rear on the back stretch – sending him up into the wall. During the spin, he was then hit in the driver side door by another car. He was able to get out of the car and was fine after getting checked out by the medical care team.
On social media, Tinkle reflected, “Man, today hurts. Qualified the closest to pole I had all season and thought we were in good shape. Unfortunately, we got hit in the right rear down the backstretch and turned us into the fence and cut our night short. Thank you to all of Richmond Racing for their efforts today. I think we would have been on for a top 15 finish in what was a stacked field. Thank you to the ARCA Medical staff for keeping us racers safe whenever any incidents occur. I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities this year, and I’m very grateful.”