NASCAR Xfinity Series

Sammy Smith holds off Truex in Phoenix for maiden Xfinity win

2 Mins read
Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Older race fans will not appreciate this fun fact: the combined age of the winners at Phoenix Raceway so far this weekend is just 16.5. A day after fifteen-year-old Tyler Reif won the ARCA Menards Series race, eighteen-year-old Sammy Smith held off Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Ryan Truex to win the NASCAR Xfinity SeriesUnited Rentals 200.

Cautions plagued the day as eleven were called including the two for stage breaks, the second most for a Phoenix Xfinity race after fourteen in the spring 2005 edition. The final yellow flag eliminated Justin Allgaier, who won both stages but was sqeueezed into the wall by Kaz Grala and Brett Moffitt; Allgaier had fallen back after contact from JR Motorsports team-mates Brandon Jones and Sam Mayer, the latter of whom crashed with JRM’s Josh Berry in Stage #2.

While a race to forget for JRM, JGR enjoyed a 1–2 finish with Smith and Truex, the former now holding the early advantage in the Rookie of the Year battle. Smith took the lead shortly after Gray Gaulding‘s wreck on lap 147 and never relinquished it through the carnage.

“I think the track just changed a lot more than I expected it to,” explained Truex, who was making his first of six starts for JGR. “That long run, we were really bad. I was just hanging on. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and these guys let me complain on the radio and we made the right adjustments. That was a good restart at the end; I’m glad at least I could try to make it exciting. Congrats to Sammy and I think he was the class of the field all day. His car looked so good, and he could do what he wanted.”

Sheldon Creed had a dramatic rally after spinning with fifty laps to go and dropping out of the top twenty before climbing through the order, notably gaining eighteen spots in the final sixteen circuits to finish third. Creed partly capitalised on late contact between Kaulig Racing‘s Kyle Busch and Chandler Smith, causing the former to slide into the wall before finishing ninth.

Connor Mosack finished twenty-fourth in his first Xfinity oval race, three spots ahead of series newcomer Leland Honeyman Jr. Garrett Smithley was thirty-second in his first start of 2023 for DGM Racing after opening the year with B.J. McLeod Motorsports. CHK Racing, who missed the first three races, finally cracked the grid with Dawson Cram but retired with a fuel pump issue.

MBM Motorsports‘ #66 was the lone car to miss tha race with Timmy Hill. Brian Weber was supposed to enter the race in what would have been his first Xfinity start since 2003, but was replaced by Hill as he felt he needed more time to prepare.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
11118Sammy SmithJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
21219Ryan TruexJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
352Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet200Running
41098Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord200Running
5616Chandler SmithKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
6420John Hunter NemechekJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
7821Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet200Running
878Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
93810Kyle Busch*Kaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
10311Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
11141Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
12100Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord200Running
131725Brett MoffittAM RacingFord200Running
142578Anthony AlfredoB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
153748Parker KligermanBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet200Running
16939Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord200Running
171802Kyle WeathermanOur MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
181531Parker RetzlaffJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet200Running
191943Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet200Running
202751Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet200Running
212092Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet200Running
221627Jeb BurtonJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet200Running
23219Brandon JonesJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
243624Connor MosackSam Hunt RacingToyota200Running
252228Kyle SiegRSS RacingFord200Running
263335Joey GaseEmerling-Gase MotorsportsToyota200Running
272345Leland Honeyman Jr.Alpha Prime RacingChevrolet200Running
28324Bayley CurreyJD MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
29286Brennan PooleJD MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
303453Patrick EmerlingEmerling-Gase MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
312438Joe Graf Jr.RSS RacingFord200Running
323091Garrett SmithleyDGM RacingChevrolet200Running
333144Jeffrey EarnhardtAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet200Running
341326Kaz GralaSam Hunt RacingToyota199Running
353507Blaine PerkinsSS-Green Light RacingChevrolet192Suspension
3627Justin AlllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet178Accident
372608Gray GauldingSS-Green Light RacingFord137Accident
382974Dawson CramCHK RacingChevrolet99Fuel Pump
DNQ66Timmy HillMBM MotorsportsFord
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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