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18-Year-Old Sammy Smith Dominates at Phoenix, Scores 1st Xfinity Win

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Sammy Smith led the most laps at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday (March 11) and successfully navigated late restarts to score his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.

Smith held off threats like Kyle Busch, Chandler Smith and Ryan Truex on multiple restarts to grab the win, which is the second for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota this season. Truex completed the JGR 1-2 finish, scoring his third career runner-up.

Sheldon Creed came back from a spin to finish third, Riley Herbst finished fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five. John Hunter Nemechek finished sixth after a restart penalty on lap 78 sent him from the lead to the tail of the field. Austin Hill was seventh, and Josh Berry, who spun out twice in the race, came back to finish eighth. Busch and Daniel Hemric completed the top 10.

“Yeah, it’s amazing.” said Smith, talking to Fox’s Josh Sims after the race. “It’s a dream come true. Thanks to all the guys on this JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) team for giving me this opportunity it’s awesome.”

Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier started the race on the front row. Custer led the first 37 laps before Allgaier took the lead.

A late-stage spin from Berry brought out the caution and set up a shootout to the end of stage 1. Allgaier held off the competition to win the stage. Pit stops at the end of the stage mixed up the field, as Sam Mayer, who pitted under the previous caution, led the field to the start of stage 2.

On the restart, Nemechek took the lead from Mayer and led until lap 78 when he was penalized for driving below the yellow line before the start/finish line on a restart. This gave the lead to Hill for the first time.

Nemechek benefitted from a second Josh Berry spin on lap 83 that brought out another caution, which kept his No. 20 Supra on the lead lap. Most of the field pitted under this caution, but Allgaier stayed out and was able to win stage 2, sweeping the stages.

Hill, who pitted during the caution before the end of stage 2, led the field to the green to start the final stage. Sammy Smith took advantage of a four-wide restart to take the lead on lap 103 after Busch led a lap.

A caution at lap 138 for Gray Gaulding blowing a right-front tire brought the field to pit road, and Hill won the race out the pits. Sammy Smith returned to the lead on the restart, but the caution immediately flew after Creed spun out in turn 2.

Sammy Smith continued to lead until the 11th caution for a…

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