Sammy Smith hangs on for first NASCAR Xfinity win at Phoenix

Sammy Smith hangs on for first NASCAR Xfinity win at Phoenix

Smith, a two-time ARCA East series champion, held off an unexpected late charge from Ryan Truex and took the checkered flag by 0.641 seconds to earn his first Xfinity Series victory.

Smith, driving the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, grabbed the lead for the final time on Lap 149 after getting around veteran Kyle Busch.

Smith, 18, then had to hold off various challengers over three more restarts to cement the win. Smith led a race-high 92 laps. He had led a total of 32 laps in 12 previous starts.


“It’s amazing, just a dream come true,” said Smith, who is also finishing up his senior year in high school. “Thanks to all the guys on this JGR team for giving me this opportunity.

“It’s awesome!”

Truex, who is running a partial schedule for JGR in the No. 19 this season, said he was caught off guard by the changes in the track.

“In that long run, we were really bad and I was just hanging on,” Truex said. “But Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and these guys let me complain on the radio and made the right adjustments and had a good restart at the end.”

Sheldon Creed rallied from a spin earlier in the race to finish third, Riley Herbst was fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Josh Berry, Busch and Daniel Hemric.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, a handful of cars including Justin Allgaier elected to pit but Hill remained on the track and inherited the lead.

The race returned to green on Lap 101 with Hill followed by Hemric and Sammy Smith. Allgaier lined up 30th.

Busch used a three-wide move on the restart to power into the lead.

Sammy Smith went to the inside Busch and came away with the lead on Lap 103.

By Lap 118, Allgaier had made his way into the Top 15 as Sammy Smith built a more than 2-second lead over Busch.

On Lap 139, Gray Gaulding hit the wall and came to a stop on the track which brought out the eighth caution of the race.

The lead-lap cars all pit with Hill the first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 148, Hill was followed by Busch, Sammy Smith, Nemechek and Herbst.

Just after Sammy Smith reclaimed the lead, Creed spun out in the middle of the field to put the race back under caution on Lap 150.


The race resumed on Lap 157 with Sammy Smith out front and followed by Busch, Hill, Nemechek and Allgaier.

Anthony Alfredo spun in Turn 2 on Lap 171 to bring out another caution. The race returned to green on…

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