Monday, Feb 06

Sammy Smith / No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra Preview – NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway

Sammy Smith / No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra Preview – NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway NK Photography Photo

No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra News and Notes:

  • SMITH AT PHOENIX: Sammy Smith has two ARCA Menards Series West (AMSW) starts at Phoenix Raceway. Earlier this year, Smith won the pole for the spring AMSW race, led 79 laps, and finished third. This will be Smith’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race at Phoenix. He will also be running the AMSW race on Friday for Kyle Busch Motorsports.  
  • LAST TIME OUT: Smith qualified third for last weekend’s NXS race at Martinsville Speedway – his best qualifying effort of the year. He ran solidly in the top-five for most of the race finishing Stage One fifth. Stage Two resulted in an 11th-place finish due to pitting before the stage break. He battled for the lead at the end of the race before a caution came out leading to a string of overtime attempts. On the first green-white-checkered attempt, Smith was spun coming off Turn 4. That spin resulted in a flat tire, forcing the 18 to come down pit road to change tires. Smith finished in 18th.  
  • 2022 ARCA SERIES: Smith has won six 2022 ARCA Menards Series (AMS) races – Elko, Berlin, Milwaukee, Bristol, Salem and Toledo. He has eight poles this season with an average starting position of 2.4 and an average finish of 2.9 after finishing in the top five in 15 of the 16 races he has competed in. In the AMSE, Smith has five wins this season – New Smyrna, Pensacola, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Bristol – and finished in the top five in both of the other races he has run. With his win at Bristol, Smith claimed the 2022 AMSE Driver’s Championship and the 2022 Sioux Chief Showdown Championship. He won the 2021 AMSE championship after winning three races and collecting one pole award. 
  • HE MAY BE A ROOKIE BUT…: Crew chief Jason Ratcliff certainly is not! Ratcliff has 14 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) starts and 25 NXS starts at Martinsville. He has collected five wins at the track – one in NCS with Matt Kenseth in 2017 and four in NXS competition. He has also won five NXS poles in the desert 
  • NO. 18 IN 2022: The JGR No. 18 has had nine different drivers so far in 2022 – Drew Dollar, Trevor Bayne, Ryan Truex, Bubba Wallace, John Hunter Nemechek, Connor Mosack, Christopher Bell, Smith, and James Davison. The No. 18 team has an average start of 9.0, 379 laps led, eight top-five finishes, and 14 top-10 finishes.  
  • JGR AT MARTINSVILLE: Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have 107 combined starts at Martinsville in NXS competition. Drivers have tallied 14 wins, 47 top-fives, 75 top-10s, 19 poles, 3,119 laps led, an 8.2 average start, and a 9.3 average finish. The last win for the team was in 2021 as Daniel Hemric claimed the 2021 NXS Championship.  
  • FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates and a behind-the-scenes look at Smith’s 2022 NXS/ARCA Seasons.  
    Twitter: @SammySmithSS I Facebook: Sammy Smith Racing I Instagram:  @sammysmithss_ 
  • RACE INFO: The NXS Championship Race will start at 6:00 PM ET on Saturday, November 5. The race will be broadcasted on USA, MRN Radio, SiriusXM Radio, and available to stream on the NBC Sports app. 

 

From the Driver’s Seat: 

Sammy Smith: "I'm ready for one last Xfinity Series race in 2022. We had a great run going last week at Martinsville that the finish didn't show so I feel confident we can have another one this week. I've raced at Phoenix in the ARCA Menards Series West twice and will be in the race on Friday, so I feel like I can go out in Xfinity and really run well with that experience under my belt. I really want to put the No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra in Victory Lane this weekend to close out the year on a high note with the 18 guys."

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