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Sammy Smith Scores First Career Pole; Leads the Field to Green at Martinsville

What a time to step up and score your first career pole. Sammy Smith, who is one of the eight drivers remaining in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, will start Saturday’s Championship 4 field-deciding race at Martinsville Speedway from the pole position.

RELATED: NASCAR Xfinity Series Dead On Tools 250 Starting Lineup

Smith, 19, turned a lap time of 20.035 sec. (94.515 mph) in the qualifying session, which was just enough, by 0.012 sec., to knock Justin Allgaier, a fellow Playoff contender looking to secure his Championship 4 berth, from the top of the scoring sheet.

“It was a good lap,” Smith said of his run. “The first lap was a little bit off, had a little bit of lock up.”

Smith continued by saying, “[I] Was able to get the pole on the second lap. Knowing going into it, the second lap was going to be the faster, just needed to get heat in the tires.”

The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Pringles Toyota Supra enters Saturday’s race 49 points below the Playoff cutline, which makes this race essentially a must-win if he hopes to hoist the Xfinity Series championship trophy in Phoenix.

Smith is confident in the raw speed that his car has shown since his JGR team unloaded the car that he can win Saturday’s race if he and his team execute in the race.

“I feel like we have a really good car for tomorrow’s race,” Smith explained in his post-qualifying press conference. “I feel like practice was good. Qualifying was good. Just have to go and execute tomorrow.”

In all, four Playoff contenders will roll from the top five positions as Cole Custer, Riley Herbst, and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top-five in qualifying.

Brandon Jones, Chandler Smith, Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill, and Parker Retzlaff will start from inside the top-10.

Here is the Playoff Grid heading into Saturday’s Dead On Tools 250 with the drivers’ starting position in parenthesis:

  1. Sam Mayer, LOCKED IN (17th)
  2. John Hunter Nemechek, +44 points (5th)
  3. Cole Custer, +3 points (3rd)
  4. Austin Hill, +3 points (9th)
  5. Justin Allgaier, -3 points (2nd)
  6. Sammy Smith, -49 points (1st)
  7. Sheldon Creed, -54 points (8th)
  8. Chandler Smith, -65 points (7th)

Myatt Snider (11th), Josh Bilicki (18th), Layne Riggs (19th), and Jeremy Clements (20th) were notable drivers who turned in a solid performance in the qualifying session.

Blaine Perkins led the way in practice in the No. 02 Our Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro earlier in the afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. While the speed was there in practice for the No. 02 team, it didn’t translate to an incredible starting spot as Perkins will start from the 31st position.

With 39 cars attempting to make it into the 38-car field, it meant there was a lone driver and team that would fail to make the field, that driver was Timmy Hill, who was piloting the No. 66 entry for MBM Motorsports.

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