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Sammy Smith clinches ARCA East Championship with JGR 1-2 Bristol finish; Ty Gibbs celebrates 10th win

Thursday’s ARCA Menards Series race from Bristol Motor Speedway wrapped up the 2021 ARCA East tour and was the 18th race in the 20-event national tour.

The night ended with Joe Gibbs Racing finishing first and second, and one of their drivers hoisting their first championship.

Sammy Smith celebrates his ARCA East Championship following Thursday’s race at Bristol. (Picture Credit: ARCA Racing)

Ty Gibbs dominated the Bush’s Beans 200 from the half-mile Bristol, TN. and cruised to his tenth victory of the 2021 national ARCA season. Gibbs now has a commanding lead over his championship rival of Corey Heim with just two races remaining.

Ty Gibbs celebrates his Bristol triumph with a burnout Thursday night. The win is his 10th in the 18-race ARCA National season. (Picture Credit: David Crigger / Bristol Herald)

Sammy Smith, driving JGR’s No. 81 Toyota, piloted his Engine Ice Camry to a runner-up position behind Gibbs. All the 17-year-old first-year ARCA driver needed to clinch the eight-race East Championship was to finish inside the Top-19. His closest championship rival, Daniel Dye in the GMS Racing No. 21, never threatened Smith for position in the 200-lap affair.

Smith won three (Five Flags, Nashville Fairgrounds, Southern Motorsports Park) of the eight dates on the calendar. Smith is expected to return to JGR next year, graduating to the national tour. Thursday night marked his best national finish in three starts — all of them being combination races with the East tour this season.

Taylor Gray, fresh off his Portland West victory last week, was best-in-class behind the two JGR Toyotas with a third-place finish. Nick Sanchez and Corey Heim rounded out the top-five spots. Rajah Caruth, Jesse Love, Jesse Love, Drew Dollar, Parker Chase and Conner Jones round of the top-ten. Jones, driving the Cook-Finley Racing No. 42, was making his ARCA debut at 15 years old. East Series competitor Daniel Dye ended the night 12th.

For the second race this season, Thad Moffitt and Drew Dollar tangled. Dollar intentionally turned Moffitt of the second corner. Moffitt was able to avoid any contact with the wall, but his night ended on the next restart when a tire failed. Moffitt’s David Gilliland Racing No. 46 finished 25th in the 31-car field.

The two JGR cars race side-by-side around the high banks of Bristol early. Gibbs was unthreatened for the lead during green flag action Thursday. (Picture Credit: AutoRacing1)

2021 Bush’s Beans 200 (Bristol Motor Speedway):

Pos.: Driver (No.) – Laps – East Regular
1: Ty Gibbs (18) – 200
2: Sammy Smith (81) – 200 – East
3: Taylor Gray (17) -200
4: Nick Sanchez (2) – 200
5: Corey Heim (20) – 200
6: Rajah Caruth (6) – 200 – East
7: Jesse Love (25) – 200
8: Drew Dollar (15) – 200
9: Parker Chase (55) – 200
10: Conner Jones (42) – 200
11: Kyle Sieg (28) – 200
12: Daniel Dye (21) – 200 – East
13: Jack Wood (22) – 199
14: Max Gutierrez (30) – 199 – East
15: Greg Van Alst (35) – 199
16: Justin S. Carroll (91) – 199 – East
17: Mason Mingus (11) – 198
18: Jade Buford (10) – 197
19: Joey Iest (54) – 196 – East
20: Zachary Tinkle (27) – 193
21: Charles Buchanan Jr. (87) – 189 – East
22: Jason Kitzmiller (97) – 188
23: Richard Garvie (01) – 181
24: Brad Smith (48) – 174
25: Thad Moffitt (46) – 158
26: Andy Jankowiak (73) – 136
27: Stephanie Moyer (44) – 76
28: D.L. Wilson (12) – 70
29: Sam Mayer (23) – 47
30: Don Thompson (06) – 14
31: Mason Diaz (74) – 2 – East

The next ARCA Menards race takes on Salem Speedway. The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 from Salem, Indiana is October 2 at 8pm EST with coverage on MAVTV and NBC Sports Gold TrackPass.

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