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Sammy Smith Leaves Pocono On Top

2022 ARCA Pocono Sammy Smith (Credit: Mike Lawrence/ARCA Racing used with permission)

For the second time this season, the ARCA Menards Series ended a race early. This time, at Pocono Raceway, Taylor Gray was the beneficiary as he won the General Tire Delivers 200 for his third main ARCA victory this season.

Halfway through the season, the top three drivers are all separated by less than 10 points. Rajah Caruth leads Nick Sanchez by three points and Daniel Dye by nine points. Toni Breidinger is in fourth place, 64 points behind, and Greg Van Alst rounds out the top five, trailing by 72 points.

1. Sammy Smith

Sammy Smith won the pole, but he never contended for the win. Smith ran inside the top 10 for most of the race before a flat left-rear tire forced him to pit, finishing one lap down in 12th place. It is only his second-ever finish outside the top 10 in his ARCA career. Post-race, Smith exchanged words with Venturini Motorsports crew chief Shannon Rursch.

Smith trails Caruth by 171 points. With 10 races left, Smith would need to gain at least 18 points per race on his ARCA championship competitors. It is a herculean ask for sure, but Smith keeps the top spot in these power rankings thanks to his series-high 384 laps led.

2. Taylor Gray

Despite only competing part-time, Gray has the most main ARCA victories this season with three. He has won back-to-back races at two quite different tracks – a road course in Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, followed by the Tricky Triangle.

Gray also has an advantage over his fellow ARCA drivers heading into the next ARCA event at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. He has competed there before. In the last ARCA race at that 0.686-mile short track, Gray finished fourth.

3. Nick Sanchez

Although Gray has won back-to-back ARCA races, Sanchez has piloted a fast No. 2 Chevrolet. In fact, Sanchez could have won both races.

Nevertheless, Sanchez’s performance caught the attention of NASCAR Xfinity Series team Big Machine Racing. The team signed him to run four Xfinity races. Sanchez has improved this year, already with career-high numbers in wins and laps led.

4. Rajah Caruth

Caruth left Long Pond, Pa….

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