Thursday, June 8, 2023

Sammy Smith Begins ARCA East Title Defense with Convincing Victory at New Smyrna

PC: Sammy Smith | Twitter

Even though Sammy Smith is technically driving for a new team in 2022, his ARCA Menards Series title defense got off to an incredible start in Tuesday’s Race to Stop Suicide 200 at New Smyrna Speedway.

Smith – who will compete for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA East Series in 2022 — paced the 90-minute practice-qualifying hybrid session earlier in the afternoon, earning him the pole position for the event.

Starting from the pole, Smith had to deal with a continuous hard-fought charge from David Gilliland Racing’s Taylor Gray, who many consider to be Smith’s biggest obstacle in his quest for back-to-back championships.

RJ Starcevic – at New Smyrna Speedway for — captured some video of an intense exchange for the lead between Smith and Gray in the late stages of the event.

The flow of the event was interrupted on multiple occasions by a pesky rain shower, which caused two of the eight caution flags, as well as an extended stoppage during the race’s halfway break.

A spin by Mason Diaz – driving the No. 44 for Ferrier-McClure Racing — brought out the final caution of the event inside of 10 laps to go, setting up a late-race restart eerily similar to that of last season’s.

On the final restart of the race, with six laps to go, Gray struggled to properly fire off – something that had been a strong suit of his throughout the entire evening — which allowed the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver to scurry away from the field.

With only five laps remaining in the event, Gray was unable to overcome the immense deficit built by Smith, allowing the 17-year-old to capture his fourth victory in the ARCA Menards Series East.

Gray would bring home a second-place finish, while Max Gutierrez – last year’s New Smyrna winner — finished in third, despite an early-race spin and a late-race incident with Christian Rose.

On debut, Leland Honeyman finished fourth for Young’s Motorsports, with Donald Theetge rounding out the top-five for Visconti Motorsports. Mason Diaz, Logan Misuraca, Willie Mullins, Stephanie Moyer, and Ed Pompa rounded out the top-10.

After the first of seven ARCA Menards Series events, Smith leads the point standings by six markers over Taylor Gray. The series heads to Five Flags Speedway for the second of seven events on the schedule, with the race taking place on March 19th.

2022 Race to Stop Suicide 200 at New Smyrna Speedway Results:

PosStCar No.DriverTeamLapsDiffBest LapStatus
1118Sammy SmithKyle Busch Motorsports200----Running
2217Taylor GrayDavid Gilliland Racing200-1.638--Running
3730Max GutierrezRette Jones Racing200-3.619--Running
4402Leland HoneymanYoung's Motorsports200-4.062--Running
5374Donald TheetgeVisconti Motorsports200-17.685--Running
6544Mason DiazFerrier-McClure Racing199-1 lap--Running
7660Logan MisuracaJosh Williams Motorsports199-1 lap--Running
8811Willie MullinsFast Track Racing198-2 laps--Running
91001Stephanie MoyerFast Track Racing193-7 laps--Running
101110Ed PompaFast Track Racing190-10 laps--Running
11942Christian RoseCook Racing Technologies145-55 laps--Running
121322Steve AustinCCM Racing122-78 laps--DNF
131695Caleb CostnerLast Chance Racing47-153 laps--DNF
141212Tony CosentinoFast Track Racing21-179 laps--DNF
151448Brad SmithBrad Smith Racing8-192 laps--DNF
16150Zachary TinkleWayne Peterson Racing0-200 laps--DNS

2022 ARCA Menards Series East Point Standings After 1/7 Races:

1Sammy Smith49--
2Taylor Gray43-6
3Max Gutierrez41-8
4Leland Honeyman40-9
5Donald Theetge39-10
6Mason Diaz38-11
7Logan Misuraca37-12
8Willie Mullins36-13
9Stephanie Moyer35-14
10Ed Pompa34-15
11Christian Rose33-16
12Steve Austin32-17
13Caleb Costner31-18
14Tony Cosentino30-19
15Brad Smith29-20
16Zachary Tinkle28-46
Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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