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Sunday, December 4, 2022
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Sammy Smith Dominates at Elko, Scores Back-to-Back ARCA Victories

Sammy Smith wins his second ARCA Menards Series race in a row, this time at Elko Speedway. Screengrab from FloRacing.

Scoring his first career ARCA Menards Series victory last weekend at Berlin Raceway was only beginning, as Toyota Racing Development prospect Sammy Smith, followed it up with another victory in Saturday’s Menards 250 at Elko Speedway.

 

Saturday’s triumph marks another win on a short track for Smith, who had made a name for himself dominating the ARCA Menards Series East, as well as accumulating wins in Late Model races across the country.

The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver isn’t currently in the fight for the championship this season, after missing four races, but the extra reps – and wins – will continue to help him develop, as he sets sights on his Xfinity Series debut at Road America.

A vast amount of Smith’s wins have come in dominant fashion, and the showdown at Elko was no different. Believe it or not, Smith’s biggest threat throughout the night was… Willie Mullins?

 

Not once, not twice, but THREE Times did “Big Willie” make contact with a competitor, all resulting in a spin and caution flag.

Mullins made contact with teammate Bryce Haugeberg, then shortly thereafter it was Toni Breidinger. However, it wasn’t until his Lap 135 incident with Nick Sanchez, that ARCA officials decided to penalize him.

Nonetheless, there were a handful of drivers that managed to stay clean during the race, including the No. 20 of Jesse Love who finished in second, right where he started.

Landon Pembelton was impressed in his ARCA Menards Series debut for Venturini Motorsports, finishing in third place.

Taylor Gray and Daniel Dye rounded out the top five finishers, with Dye just inching closer to the points lead, leaving Elko only nine points behind Rajah Caruth.

Tom Hessert continued an impressive return to the series in sixth, with points leader Rajah Caruth ending up seventh, holding and extending his lead over teammate Nick Sanchez.

Tom Hessert and finished sixth, while Rajah Caruth ended his night in the seventh position after some issues earlier in the race. Greg Van Alst, ‘Big Willie’, and Ron Vandermeir Jr. rounded out the top-ten finishers.

Nick Sanchez and Toni Breidinger were able to salvage 11th and 12th place finishes, respectively, after their incidents with Mullins.

Leaving Elko, Caruth extended his margin in the series point standings to five points over teammate Nick Sanchez, who struggled in the second half of the event to finish 11th.

After three weeks of racing in a row, the ARCA Menards Series will take a much-needed off week before heading out to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 8th for the Dawn 150.

RJ Starcevic
RJ Starcevic
Owner/founder of @NASCARReport on Instagram - Host of The Drivers Meeting Podcast - Contributor for TobyChristie.com

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