By Adam Fenwick, ARCA Menards Series
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sammy Smith is right at home in Music City.
Smith, driving the No. 18 TMC Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, triumphed during Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series East Music City 200 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
The victory was his third in four races in East Series competition this season and his second-straight at the historic Nashville oval. It also allowed him to strengthen his lead in the East Series standings to nine points ahead of title rival Taylor Gray.
Smith started second and chased 17-year-old Jake Finch for the first 44 laps of the race. Finch took the lead at the start of the race after earning his first General Tire Pole Award earlier in the day.
The pass for the lead came on the 45th circuit when Smith moved to Finch’s inside to take the lead at the start/finish line. Once out front, Smith was never seriously challenged. He led the rest of the way, ultimately getting to the checkered flag 8.333 seconds clear of Finch.
“We kind of struggled there to get by the 1 car (Finch) early,” Smith explained in Victory Lane. “Just couldn’t get clean air, but once we got out front our car was really good, and here we are.”
Finch worked his way past Taylor Gray with 13 laps left to finish second, his best finish in three East Series starts so far this season.
Gray settled for third one week after a dominant victory at Dover Motor Speedway for David Gilliland Racing. Mason Mingus and Leland Honeyman completed the top five.
Tanner Arms, Michael Lira, Donald Theetge, Matt Wilson, and Ryan Roulette were sixth through 10th, respectively.
A replay of Saturday’s Music City 200 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway will be broadcast on USA Network on Friday, May 13 at 12 p.m. ET.
With the ARCA Menards Series East season officially past the halfway point, the series will be back in action alongside the ARCA Menards Series on June 11 at Iowa Speedway for the Calypso Lemonade 150. The Calypso Lemonade 150 is also the second race of the Sioux Chief Showdown.
Photo: Christian Koelle, Kickin’ the Tires