Sunday, March 26, 2023

Taylor Gray Wins Darkness-Shortened ARCA Race at Pocono, While Sammy Smith Beefs With Venturini Team

Taylor Gray ARCA win Pocono 2022
Taylor Gray scores the victory at Pocono as the race is shortened 16 laps early due to darkness. Screengrab from FS1.

For the third time this season, an ARCA race is suddenly cut short due to circumstance. This time around it was darkness that led to the ending of Friday’s General Tire Delivers 200 at Pocono Raceway, and Taylor Gray was victorious in the end.

For Gray, this marks his third win in just six starts on the ARCA National scene this year as he continues his fight for a championship in the East Series as well.

The 17-year-old’s race got off to a great start, as he took the lead from pole sitter Sammy Smith on the initial start of the race.

After 21 laps passed, Zachary Tinkle took a hard lick to the outside wall of turn one after contact with Stephanie Moyer.

Nick Sanchez was the first to be able to dethrone Gray for the lead on lap 27, and he maintained the lead until the first race break at lap 30.

Four cars would be penalized a lap under the timed caution. The most notable being Gray in the No. 17, who’s race would be altered after ignoring the stop-and-go sign on pit road.

Other drivers that were penalized were: Parker Chase, Greg Van Alst and Brad Smith.

Chaos wasn’t just for pit road on Friday evening as it carried over to the tunnel turn. With 30 laps to go, the big one ensued.

VIDEO: Amber Balcaen Gets Turned, Sets Off Huge Crash That Leads to Red Flag at Pocono

Amber Balcaen was spun into the pack, collecting Sean Corr, Andy Jankowiak, Ed Pompa, and more.

As the red flag was displayed among the field, the concerns of darkness grew.

The race was able to be resumed, but only for a short amount of time.

The ending to the race would be caused by the spin of Jesse Love, who seemingly was turned by the No. 18 car heading into turn three with 19 laps remaining in the race.

While there was no replay to officially confirm the incident, the discussions on pit road after the race caught by Davey Segal seemed to confirm it.

In this clip, Smith engaged in a very not safe for work argument with Love’s crew chief Shannon Rursch.

Smith is set to pilot the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, also at Pocono. It’ll mark Smith’s second-career Xfinity Series start.

After the dust settled and the darkness rose it was David Gilliland Racing’s Gray that was back in victory lane after a late strategy call to stay out and grab the lead, while the majority of the field pitted.

Sanchez made a charge for the win at the end, but it just wasn’t enough as he placed in the second position.

Brandon Jones scored a third place finish in the No. 81 Toyota, which is a solid finish, but Jones failed to show the race winning strength that you come to expect from him driving an ARCA race for the Joe Gibbs Racing team.

Championship contenders Rajah Caruth and Daniel Dye rounded out the top five finishers in the race.

Here were the full results from Friday’s darkness-shortened race:

Race Results: 2022 ARCA Menards Series General Tire Delivers 200 at Pocono

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the Reese’s 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park next weekend. That race is scheduled for Friday, July 29th and will be aired on FS1 beginning at 6:00 PM ET.

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

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