It was a long time coming for Huntington Beach, Calif.’s Zane Smith; but it was well worth the wait. On the heels of three runner-up finishes in 2017, Smith put it all together Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, winning the Music City 200.
Smith, in the No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix Toyota, passed his MDM Motorsports teammate Sheldon Creed with 20 laps to go and drove away to a 10-length lead for his career-first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win.
“I knew it was going to come down to me and Sheldon…I think you’re going to see that battle a lot this year,” said Smith. “I can tell you coming to the white flag my legs were shaking. I forgot how to get to victory lane; it’s been so long.”
MDM Motorsports swept the top-three positions with Creed in second and Harrison Burton in third.
“That’s all props to MDM Motorsports,” Smith added. “Mardy (Lindley/crew chief) got this thing golden tonight. It was on rails all night. Pit road…they killed it. We never lost a spot.”
Creed, in the No. 28 United Rentals Toyota, beat Smith on the last restart to lead 12 laps but couldn’t muster up the juice to hold off the eventual winner.
“Super happy with our run tonight,” said Creed. “I feel like the short tracks have been my weakness so this feels really good. Congrats to Zane on his first win. Hopefully our first win is coming soon. ARCA is the hardest first win I’ve ever tried to get. I feel like we’ve got some really good momentum right now…third at Daytona and second here.”
Burton, in the No. 12 DEX Imaging Toyota, charged from the 25th starting position to finish third.
“It was tough,” said Burton. “We made some really good changes throughout the day. This MDM team really fights hard…digging deep when you think you’re down. Really proud of my teammate Zane Smith…he’s a heck of a wheelman. For our whole team to finish one-two-three…that’s really hard to do in ARCA.”
Michael Self, who led seven laps, flirted with the leaders all night, finishing fourth in the Sinclair Lubricants Toyota for Venturini Motorsports.
“It’s a fun place to race; that’s for sure,” said Self. “You really have to adapt a lot. This place changes all night. Overall, a really good night. We just got to go back and figure out how to beat those MDM cars.”
Fifteen-year-old Chandler Smith won the General Tire Pole with a new track record and led the first 51 laps before he got shuffled back during pit stops. The Talking Rock, Ga. rookie spent most of the race battling back, finishing fifth in the No. 20 Smith General Contracting Toyota.
Tyler Dippel, Chase Purdy, Christian Eckes, Brandon Grosso and Bret Holmes completed the top-10, respectively. Natalie Decker finished 11th, the last car on the lead lap.
Zane Smith was also the Valvoline Lap Leader with 120 laps-led. Five cautions, for minor incidents, slowed the pace for 43 laps.
The next event for the ARCA Racing Series is the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway coming April 22.