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Sammy Smith Aims High to End Breakout Season

The Toyota prospect already has wins in the Winchester 400 and Red Bud 400.

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During a season in which he has totally come of age as a top NASCAR prospect, Sammy Smith aims to end it in the biggest way possible with a victory in the Donnie Wilson Motorsports No. 22 in the Snowball Derby.

Smith has won 13 times across the ARCA Racing Series and Super Late Models, while also proving himself immediately competitive behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 NASCAR Xfinity Series entry. The triumphs include the prestigious Red Bud 400, another ARCA East Division championship and a championship in the Super Late Model World Series of Asphalt during Florida Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway.

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And these were just the races he was eligible to race in, having just turned 18 years old in June, so why not start daydreaming about adding the Tom Dawson Trophy to that list?

Obviously going to the Snowball Derby tonight, kind of getting ready for that. Excited to go from here to there and getting ready to qualify for that is going to be fun.

"Yeah, for sure I daydream about it," Smith said. "And I feel like anyone in the industry knows how big of a race this is, and if I could win it, it would be a huge accomplishment. Hopefully we can be there on Sunday."

Oh, by the way, Smith will drive Hamke chassis No. 074, the frame that won the Snowball Derby last year with Chandler Smith.

Smith and crew chief Bond Suss already feel confident in how the car races. They saw it last year and they saw earlier this season too. To that end, the No. 22 team are just focusing on qualifying speed and a mock-up run.

They want to qualify near the front, and control the race, maximizing their chances to win.

"Also, our mindset is that the track is going to change so much on Thursday and Friday to what it will be on Sunday," Smith said. "I don't think what you'll learn on those two days once the track takes on so much rubber will apply to Sunday. It's a ton of rubber going down.

"We're racing on the heat of the day on Sunday and the midweek is much colder this year. So I think our mindset is focus on qualifying trim, get a good starting spot and then focus on the battle."

And, if the past two years are any indication, it will be a battle. Derek Thorn and Ty Majeski door slammed each other over a green-white-checkered to decide the race in 2020 with Smith executing a polarizing bump-and-run to win last year.

Smith says he’s prepared to do what has to be done within reason to win on Sunday.

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"There's been a 15-lap shootout the past couple of years that really determined the race," Smith said. "You get four tires and it's so hard to pass that you might get one shot. We want to be up front and to have a chance to make that decision on Sunday."

At 18, Smith could race in Xfinity, ARCA national or a combination of everything next year, and Smith says he hopes to finalize and announce those plans soon.

"I think we're close," Smith said. "Working on some stuff but hope to have something to announce soon."

And maybe he can make that announcement with the Tom Dawson Trophy as well.

56th Derby

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