Toyota NASCAR prospect Sammy Smith wins Milwaukee Mile ARCA race

Sammy Smith gets a shower from his Kyle Busch Motorsports team in victory lane after winning the ARCA Menards Series Sprecher 150 on Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile.

WEST ALLIS – At 18, Sammy Smith is a little over a century younger than the Milwaukee Mile.

His detailed knowledge of the history of the place goes back a year, give or take a couple of days.

But that was enough on Sunday. Smith got the gist.

“We were able to race here last year and we couldn’t win, so I’m glad we could come back here and win,” Smith said after winning the ARCA Menards Series Sprecher 150.

“It’s great to win here because it’s quite a historic place. I think it’s the oldest track in America. So it’s great to win here and it was a fun race.”

A Toyota development driver from Johnston, Iowa, Smith may end up following in the footsteps of 2021 Milwaukee ARCA winner Ty Gibbs to the NASCAR Xfinity Series as early as next season. Though his path isn’t set yet, at least not publicly, Smith has raced part-time in that series, finishing third last weekend at Watkins Glen International road course and crashing on his debut at Daytona International Speedway. Friday night. .

“This,” he said, “was definitely better than that.”

Smith, the reigning ARCA East champion, is challenging for that title again and has only a partial schedule at the national level with Kyle Busch Motorsports. With his third national win of the season, he joined a tie with Taylor Gray and Brandon Jones, also part-timers, and series regular Nick Sanchez, mostly.

Smith’s performance wasn’t nearly as dominant as Gibbs’s a year ago, when the winner led every lap from the pole. But in a race Sunday that included scheduled pit stops just after laps 50 and 100, Smith dominated the opening segment, falling behind Taylor Gray midway through the race and then retaking the lead on the restart to race toward the checkered flag.

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Sammy Smith runs for the lead with Tanner Gray at Turn 3 during the ARCA Menards Series Sprecher 150.

“In the first segment we were pretty good and in the second segment we got off and they made good changes in the last segment and I was able to walk away,” Smith said matter-of-factly.

Smith, who finished fifth last year, won by 3.3 seconds.

“I feel like I was just running my gap and trying to stay in a safe position so he wasn’t all over me coming to the checkered flag,” Smith said. “I think we all know how that would probably end. But we were able to walk away and not worry about it.”

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