NASCAR Xfinity driver Sammy Smith put in an impressive performance at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday (April 15). Smith finished second in the Call 811.com Before You Dig 250 race behind fellow Joe Gibbs teammate John Hunter Nemechek.
Nemechek and Sammy Smith were the fastest riders on Saturday, both battling for victory. Although Nemechek had the extra pace to win the race, Smith’s race car caught everyone’s attention.
With 19 laps to go, the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver in third place slipped to the outside of Josh Berry’s #8 and Nemechek’s #20 and briefly took the lead. The courageous overtaking maneuver by the 18-year-old earned praise from the fans.
NASCAR fans responded to the brilliant maneuver on Twitter, praising the #18 driver’s efforts. Here are a few reactions:
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John Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith round off an impressive weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing drove home a 1-2 finish while John Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith led the field from the front. While Cole Custer and Josh Berry were also chasing the win, the JGR riders successfully held them off.
Nemechek swept both stages to claim a dominant win after leading 198 of the 250 laps. He earned his second win of the season when he battled Sammy Smith, who was hot on his heels for most of the race.
The #20 driver was glad the battle with his teammate didn’t end in a wreck. He said in a post-race interview:
“It was a good hard short track race. We didn’t break each other down and put on a show. I am grateful to Sammy (Smith). I’m happy to race with him. We race hard against each other, but we race each other clean. I’m just happy to get this thing on the road to victory today. I’m super pumped.
The number 18 driver added that he raced against Nemechek to avoid ruining each other.
“I think it was really good. I was trying to go up against John Hunter (Nemechek) with a lot of respect to make sure one of us wins but in the end I think the 00 (Cole Custer) was kind of knocking my bumper off so I thought, it would be fair to bring him back.
John Hunter Nemechek pocketed $100,000 after winning the Dash 4 cash event in the race. When he won the race, the #18 driver won the extra cash and secured a spot at the next event at Talladega Superspeedway. Smith also qualified for the Dash 4 Cash race along with Cole Custer and Josh Berry.