The NASCAR Xfinity Series has a new driver locked into the playoffs. Sammy Smith won at Phoenix Raceway on March 11, and he made NASCAR history in the process.
The two-time ARCA Menards Series East champion suited up for the Xfinity Series race at Phoenix at the age of 18. He went out and led 92 of the 200 laps before crossing the finish line ahead of teammate Ryan Truex. Smith officially became the youngest-ever Xfinity Series winner at Phoenix Raceway, and he broke a record set by William Byron (19) during the 2017 season.
SAMMY SMITH GETS 1ST XFINITY SERIES WIN!
The 18-year old gets the No. 18 to victory to become the youngest winner in the @NASCAR_Xfinity Series at @phoenixraceway #NASCAR #UnitedRentals200 pic.twitter.com/w5uIwu0E0q
— NASCAR on TSN (@NASCARonTSN) March 12, 2023
Smith clearly had the Toyota to beat at Phoenix Raceway. He started 11th overall, but he finished Stage 1 in the third position. He then went on to finish Stage 2 in the fourth position.
Smith took the lead during the final stage after passing Kyle Busch, and he went on to hold off several contenders during multiple restarts. He survived a caution-filled event, learned as the race progressed, and showed that he can be a true contender in what was only his second-ever Xfinity Series start at Phoenix Raceway.
Smith Gained an Advantage in Another Battle
Heading toward the 2023 Xfinity Series season, there were three main rookie drivers — Parker Retzlaff, Chandler Smith, and Sammy Smith. All were eligible to win Rookie of the Year, but the two with the Smith surname stood out as the top options due to their spots at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kaulig Racing.
Retzlaff impressed during the 2022 season as he made select starts for RSS Racing and Our Motorsports. However, Jordan Anderson Racing continues to grow as a two-car operation while JGR and Kaulig Racing have already become championship contenders.
Chandler drew attention early in the 2023 season. He finished 12th at Daytona, fourth at Auto Club Speedway, and third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also led 118 laps during the trip to Nevada.
The younger Smith, for comparison, posted three consecutive top-20 finishes to start the year, but he did not crack the top 10 until the trip to Phoenix Raceway. This is when he delivered …read more