NOTEBOOK: Sammy Smith takes aim at two championships at Bristol Motor Speedway
Thursday is likely going to be a very big day for Sammy Smith.
The 18-year-old from Johnstown, Iowa, has the chance to secure a pair of championships when the checkered flag waves at the conclusion of the Bush’s Beans 200 | Sioux Chief Showdown at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The race fills in as the eighteenth occasion on the ARCA Menards Series plan as well as the last races of the time for the ARCA Menards Series East and Sioux Boss Confrontation. Smith enters the race as the title chief in both the East Series and the Sioux Boss Standoff. He is the guarding East Series champion.
In the East Series, Smith has been dominant through the six races run thus far. He’s won four of those six, with his only defeats coming at the hands of Taylor Gray at Dover Motor Speedway on April 29 and Brandon Jones at Iowa Speedway on June 11.
Smith has collected victories at New Smyrna Speedway, Five Flags Speedway, Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and most recently the Milwaukee Mile.He completed second in the two races he didn’t win, providing him with a typical completion of 1.3 entering Bristol. He holds a 33-point advantage on Dim in the East Series standings and needs just to complete 28th or better to secure the title regardless of what Dark does.
For Gray to win the championship, he would need to win Thursday’s race and hope Smith finishes 30th or 31st. There is no scenario where Gray can finish second or worse and still win the championship.
Smith can double his fun by claiming the Sioux Chief Showdown championship as well Thursday night. The 10-race Showdown is ARCA’s series within the series that brings together the best of the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and the ARCA Menards Series West.
Held at various short tracks and road courses, the Sioux Chief Showdown offers drivers who might not be old enough to race at bigger ovals a chance to compete for a championship against drivers who are.
In the nine races challenged such a long ways as a feature of the Sioux Boss Standoff, Smith has performed well. He procured triumphs at Berlin Raceway, Elko Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile and has a most obviously terrible completion of fifth at Watkins Glen Global.
His average finish in the nine Sioux Chief Showdown races so far is an impressive 2.3. Smith holds a comfortable, 26-point advantage on Jesse Love entering Thursday’s night of racing and needs only to finish 27th or better to claim the title no matter what Love does.
For Love to win the Sioux Chief Showdown championship, he’ll need to finish fourth if Smith finishes last, third if Smith finishes 30th, second if Smith finishes 29th and win if Smith finishes 28th.
Smith completed second last season at Bristol to possible ARCA Menards Series champion Ty Gibbs, meaning the chances are in support of Smith this Thursday.
Can Brandon Jones go four for five?
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones’ return to the ARCA Menards Series this season for Joe Gibbs Racing has been largely successful.
He’s contended in four races up to this point, winning three of them at Charlotte Engine Speedway, Iowa Speedway and Watkins Glen Global. His solitary misfortune came at Pocono Raceway, when he completed third behind victor Taylor Dark and second place Scratch Sanchez.
He’ll back back in the ARCA Menards Series for the final time this season Thursday night at Bristol, a track where he’s raced three times in ARCA Menards Series East competition.
His three starts came from 2013-15, and he earned a best finish of fifth in 2015. Since then, he’s raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series at Bristol, giving him more experience than any other driver in the field at the 0.533-mile concrete oval.
Should Jones come out on top in Thursday’s race, he’ll end his five-race plan for the ARCA Menards Series with additional triumphs than whatever other contender this year with two races left. Scratch Sanchez and Dark additionally have three triumphs this season.
Andy Jankowiak honoring mother with throwback car
Racing runs in the family for Andy Jankowiak, and that includes his mom, Debby Jankowiak.
The wife of the late Tony Jankowiak, Debby raced for a period of time during her youth and was the first woman to win a feature race at New York’s Lancaster Speedway.
Andy will toss back to his mother’s dashing days this Thursday at Bristol when he pilots a dark and orange No. 73 that is suggestive of the vehicle his mom drove such a long time prior.
Andy was only 2 when his father died in a crash at Stafford Motor Speedway, so it was his mom who took him to the race track every week when he was a child. Eventually, Andy became a star racer in his own right in New York state, winning countless Modified features at a variety of race tracks in the Northeast.
He entered the ARCA Menards Series last season and has since made twelve beginnings, scoring a best completion of 6th recently at Daytona Global Speedway.
He’ll try to improve upon that finish this weekend at Bristol. His only previous ARCA start at Bristol came last season, when he finished 26th following a crash.
- Several drivers are pulling double-duty this weekend at Bristol. Sammy Smith, Nick Sanchez and Brandon Jones will all race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Friday while Rajah Caruth, Taylor Gray, Leland Honeyman and Justin Carroll are entered in Thursday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event that follows the ARCA Menards Series race.
- NASCAR Drive for Variety contender Andres Perez de Lara will make his ARCA Menards Series debut Thursday night at Bristol. It’s the first of three races he’ll run for David Gilliland Dashing this season. He’s additionally scheduled to contend in the ARCA Menards Series West occasions at The Bullring at Las Vegas Engine Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.
- Michael Lira returns to JW Motorsports for his second ARCA Menards Series start of the season Thursday. He finished 21st in the opener at Daytona in February.
- Ashton Higgins will make his second start on the ARCA platform this year and his ARCA Menards Series debut Thursday night. He competed in the ARCA Menards Series East race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on March 19, finishing seventh.
- Another returning driver is Leather expert Arms, who made his ARCA stage debut in the East Series occasion at Nashville Carnival Speedway, completing 6th. He’ll indeed drive the No. 95 for group proprietor Imprint Respectable.
- Jake Finch is set for his third beginning of the ARCA Menards Series season. In his past two beginnings, he completed seventh at Pocono Raceway and eighth at the Milwaukee Mile. He’ll guide his dad James Finch’s No. 1 Phoenix Hustling Toyota Thursday night.