Race Weekend Central

Taylor Gray, Sammy Smith Collide on Last Lap at Watkins Glen

Sammy Smith and Taylor Gray had the best cars in the ARCA Menards Series race at Watkins Glen International on Friday (Aug. 19). Yet Gray’s aggressive driving on the last lap restart cost both of them a shot at the General Tire Delivers 100.

Smith was the fastest in practice and then won the pole earlier on Friday. He dominated the race, leading all but one lap before the final restart. Right before the caution flag flew, Gray passed Smith for the lead. Yet the restart order was determined via the most recent scoring loop with Smith still in the lead.

The FOX Sports 1 broadcasters said Gray showed his hand on that attempt. Lined up on the front row, Gray still had his eyes set on his fourth victory of this season and a sweep of the ARCA road course events.

As a result, neither driver emerged victorious. Smith finished fifth and Gray finished eighth.

See also
Brandon Jones Steals ARCA Win at Watkins Glen

While neither driver finished indicative of their performance, there were no fireworks post-race between the two.

Smith gained one spot in the points, now up to seventh, an impressive feat despite missing four races earlier this year due to being underage. The 17-year-old Gray has only run part-time, and he remains ninth in the standings.

These two drivers will have less than 48 hours before they climb back into their ARCA cars. The series quickly travels 800 miles to the 1-mile dirt track, the Illinois State Fairgrounds also referred to as the Springfield Mile. That race will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by MAVTV Motorsports Network and available on FloRacing.

About the author

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Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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