Sammy Smith wins at Toledo, Nick Sanchez wins drivers title
In a wild race Toledo Speedway, which saw a late race bump and run between No. 20 Jesse Love and No.18 Sammy Smith, Smith stole the win and the owner’s championship simultaneously.
The win was the sixth for Sammy Smith in 2022, who himself finished fourth in ARCA driver points, missing four races due to age restrictions.
Coming into the race, No. 2 Nick Sanchez held a two-point lead over No.43 Daniel Dye in the drivers points, while No.18 KBM held a one-point lead over the No. 20 VMS in the owners points. It was going to be a close battle all day.
On the initial start, the No.43 Dye was able to lead the first lap, getting the extra bonus point, but No.20 Love quickly took back the lead and pulled to a decent advantage over the field. Dye fell through the top-5, while the No. 2 of Sanchez struggled to get into the top 5.
Following the first race break caution, the No.43 Dye failed to get his car restarted and lost all of his track position, meanwhile the No.2 Sanchez stayed out taking no tires, to lead a lap and tie back up the points. Due to the old tires, Sanchez quickly fell through the field, while Dye was climbing through.
By end of the second stage break, Dye had caught Sanchez and were neck and neck on track, while up front, No. 20 Love was leading handily over the No. 17 Taylor Gray and No. 18 of Smith, who was struggling with a tight race car.
Coming out of the second race break more chaos ensued, the No. 2 couldn’t get his car to refired and then the No. 43 Dye broke a ball joint following the restart and was forced to the pits, effectively ending the drivers championship battle.
With the drivers title locked up,Sanchez was told to play it safe and just get to the flag. Up front it was the same as the No. 20 was still leading, but the No.44 of Grant Enfinger was catching Love quickly.
Coming to three laps to go, No. 44 Enfinger tried to make a move on Love, meanwhile Smith moved both of them out of the way and Love couldn’t get back to Smith and =Smith cruised to his sixth victory of 2022.
Post-race, a frustrated Jesse Love got out of his car and tried to attack Smith but was pulled back by officials.
Kyle Busch Motorsports went onto claim the owners title by just two points, giving the No.18 team it’s fourth different championship of 2022.
Nick Sanchez and REV Racing capture their first career ARCA drivers championship and look to take that momentum into 2023.
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