By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Even if you tie one arm behind his back, Sammy Smith may just still win.
On Saturday, that was kind of what happened. He was black-flagged early for jumping the initial start and found himself a lap down.
Spoiler alert: that didn’t stop him.
Smith was able to rocket away from Mason Diaz on the final restart with 16 laps remaining and earn his second career victory in the ARCA Menards Series East. The victory is his second in a row after winning at Five Flags Speedway in February.
Nashville, Tennessee native Mason Mingus started the race on the pole with Smith starting in second. Smith got a little anxious early and ARCA officials threw the black flag on the No. 18 for jumpstarting the initial start.
Early trouble for @sammysmithSS
A black flag forces the points leader to pit and go a lap down pic.twitter.com/AqzhEFEWcB
— ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) May 9, 2021
Pole sitter Mingus would lead the initial 57 laps of the Music City 200 while Diaz would begin to make his plea for his first career victory. Diaz would take the lead on lap 58, while Smith was still trapped a lap down. Once the No. 18 got back on the lead lap, he was a shark in water lurking closer and closer to the lead, and on lap 98, that shark would attack taking the lead from Diaz right before the halfway point.
The second break of the evening saw Smith come down pit road for scheduled service as would the rest of the field. It was truly the field vs. Smith at this point in the race and no one was catching the No. 18.
Once again, Smith would rocket away on the restart and would begin to inch closer and closer to the victory.
The caution came out with 20 laps remaining for the No. 43 of Daniel Dye spinning in turn two. The caution would be the first and only caution flag shown for an incident during the night. Dye would continue and finish the race in a disappointing eighth place.
A 16-lap shootout to finish the night in Nashville would feature the No. 18 of Smith once again having a flawless restart. With no cautions to finish the race, Smith would rocket away for his second career victory.
Diaz would come home second while pole sitter Mingus finished third. Rookie Conner Jones would finish fourth and Joey Iest would round out the top-five.
A re-air of the Crosley Brands Music City 200 will be shown on NBCSN on Thursday, May 13th at 6:30 p.m. ET
The ARCA Menards Series East will head North to Dover International Speedway next weekend for the General Tire 125. The event will be broadcasted live on the NBC Sports Gold: Track Pass on May 14th at 5 p.m. ET. It will also be broadcasted live on MRN and SiriusXM channel 391.