During the week, Sammy Smith is a high school student who takes classes online to ensure he earns his high school diploma, but when the weekends roll around, he races against some of the best drivers around.
The 18-year-old took it to another level Saturday when he earned his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory. Smith held off Ryan Truex and Sheldon Creed to head to Victory Lane in the United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway.
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Smith led 92 of the 200 laps and captured the lead from Kyle Busch on lap 149.
«It was tough with all those restarts, and going against some of the best,» he said after the race, via NASCAR.com. «I just have to thank everyone at Pilot/Flying J, Toyota, JGR and everyone on this 18 team for giving me an incredible car. This is incredible.»
«This is a dream come true, and I knew at some point it would come. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of great people around me. Without all these guys, I wouldn’t be here.»
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Riley Herbst and Chandler Smith finished fourth and fifth respectively.
It marked the 16th time that JGR Motorsports had won the Xfinity Series at Phoenix. It was the sixth straight year with six different drivers: Christopher Bell (2018), Busch (2019), Brandon Jones (2020), Daniel Hemric (2021) and Ty Gibbs (2022).
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Smith is also the youngest winner of the Xfinity Series in Phoenix.
Associated Press contributed to this report.