Sammy Smith took home the trophy for the second time in his ARCA Menards Series career on Saturday at Elko Speedway in Minnesota. Smith, scoring the pole with a lap of 14.397s / 93.770 mph earlier in the day, battled Jesse Love to win the 250-lap event.
“This one feels way better to win it like this,” Smith told MAVTV after the race. “We kicked their butts today and thanks to the whole team. We had a good car and here we are!”
Smith leaves the event with four top-five and four top-10 finishes of the season with two wins.
“There was a lot of junk in the way all night,” Smith later said in regards to navigating around the lap traffic. “We did a good job as it’s part of it and got around them all night.”
Jesse Love, starting the event second on the starting grid, sat 4.119 seconds behind Smith at the checkered flag. Love leaves Elko with his second top-five of the year and third top-10 finish.
“Just a little bit here and a little bit there – maybe a little bit more lap traffic to our way,” said the second-place finisher after the race. “At the end of the night, we just need to be a little bit better.”
Landon Pembelton sat third in his ARCA Menards Series debut at Elko on Saturday. Pembelton battled Daniel Dye and even Tom Hessert for position for the majority of the race to earn the third-place finish.
Taylor Gray and Daniel Dye rounded out the top five.
Picking up top 10 finishes were Tom Hessert, Rajah Caruth, Greg Van Alst, Willie Mullins, and Ron Vandermeir Jr.
Mullins had a tough night behind the wheel of the No. 12 Toyota. The driver was involved in three of the six cautions displayed in turns one and two and was eventually given a stop-and-go penalty on pit road by series officials. Among those involved were Bryce Haugeberg, Toni Breidinger, and Nick Sanchez.
Two of those six cautions were for segment breaks while Taylor Gray brought out the first yellow of the event on lap 6.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series will be at Mid-Ohio on July 8th.