Zane Smith Wins at Martinsville, Advances to Championship 4 at Phoenix

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Zane Smith scored his first Camping World Truck Series victory of the 2021 NASCAR season on Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, beating Austin Hill and Tanner Gray in an overtime finish. The win earns Smith a place in the Championship 4 next weekend at Phoenix Raceway. 

A spin by Dawson Cram forced the United Rentals 200 into overtime. After the final restart, Smith took Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen three-wide with one lap to go in the race. Gilliland and Friesen made contact, resulting in the No. 52 Toyota of Friesen spinning into the outside wall. 

The race ended with Smith taking the victory since the white flag had already waved. Smith’s victory came at the perfect time during the Round of 8 elimination race, where Smith was ranked last among his peers coming into the weekend at the half-mile track. 

“When you’re in a must-win it’s kinda in your favor with how aggressive you can be.” Smith said of how the race played out that led to his victory, “This is my life. This is my job. Currently I don’t have a job for next year. I’m gonna do everything I possible can to win.” 

John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, and Matt Crafton also advance to compete for the championship. Nemechek narrowly avoided elimination after being caught up in a mid-race incident on Lap 131, when the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver was spun by Austin Wayne Self. Nemechek finished in the 39th position, but earned enough points to keep him above the cutoff line. 

Nemechek was furious with Self and called him out during his interview with Fox Sports 1. 

“He shouldn’t be out here if he’s just going to hook somebody in the right rear and turn them into the fence, he shouldn’t be out here,” Nemechek said. “NASCAR should definitely look at that. It’s playoff contention. You’ve got to have respect and obviously he doesn’t.”

NASCAR did not penalize Self. 

Reigning champion Sheldon Creed was eliminated from playoff contention after being involved in a wreck on Lap 185. Chandler Smith, Carson Hocevar, and Friesen were also eliminated. 

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

A Look Ahead

The Camping World Truck Series head to Phoenix Raceway next weekend for the season finale. 

Four drivers are eligible to compete for the championship: Zane Smith, Rhodes, Crafton, and Nemechek. Everyone else hopes to play spoiler for the last race of the season. 

Creed beat Zane Smith for the victory one year ago, which earned him his first series championship? Will Smith be battling Creed with everything on the line? 

Find out on Friday, November 5th at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. 

Zane Smith Wins at Martinsville, Advances to Championship 4 at Phoenix  Zane Smith Wins at Martinsville, Advances to Championship 4 at Phoenix Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Saturday, October 30, 2021 Rating: 5

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