ARCA Menards East

OBSERVATIONS: Race to Stop Suicide 200 at New Smyrna Speedway

By: Ashley McCubbin

If you could overlook the size of the field and the majority of the competition, there was a show for you to enjoy. After all, the competitors at the front were there to play.

Sammy Smith proved last season the talent he has behind the wheel, as evident by securing the championship. Taylor Gray has shown his fair share through his career to date, as well. Both with additional experience under their belt proved to be a show for the fans, as evident by their battle for the lead.

Throughout the Race to Stop Suicide 200, the pair traded the top spot back and forth on six occasions. Sone of their battles were pretty simple with a run side-by-side, while others saw the pair trade a couple bumps.

Ultimately, Smith had speed at a whole different level as seen by driving away from the field twice on the long run to secure a trip to victory lane.

If these types of battles carry forward into the weekends ahead, it could be a fun season in seeing just how far they will push each other to reach victory lane. It’s also a good preview of where the talent for the future is headed. Oh, and there’s smack talk already as evident by Smith calling out Gray for jumping multiple restarts.

The only drawback with the series is ultimately the amount of cars, and how spread out the competition is. There were only 16 entered, and they wound up spread around the half-mile oval with only four cars on the lead lap at halfway. This is not something new as evident by last year, but it would be nice to see steps taken to improve it. After all, wasn’t that the purpose of putting the East and West under the same banner as the ARCA Menards Series?

The lack of competition was only made more embarrassing once you see the shows put on by each of the other divisions at Speedweeks with over 15 cars each, battles through the field, and wins down to the checkered.

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