But the 18-year-old from Johnston, Iowa, needs to finish the job Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
This year’s Bush’s Beans 200 | Sioux Chief Showdown, a combination race with the ARCA Menards Series (national), serves as the 2022 season finale for both the East Series and the Showdown. Glory in both series awaits the driver of the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota barring a catastrophic run Thursday evening (6:30 p.m. ET on FS1).
Smith, who has won four of six East Series races this season on the heels of his 2021 title, enters Bristol with a 33-point edge over David Gilliland Racing’s Taylor Gray in the championship standings.
Based on a 31-car field at Bristol, that means Smith needs to finish 28th or better to secure the title regardless of how Gray performs.
As for Gray, the 17-year-old from Denver, North Carolina, a victory at Bristol is the only path to an East Series title. There’s no scenario in which Gray can finish second or worse and claim the championship.
Smith is in a similar position in the battle for the Sioux Chief Showdown title. He leads Jesse Love by 26 points in that series entering Bristol, meaning he needs to finish 27th or better regardless of what Love does to clinch the championship.
For Love to claim the Showdown title, he needs to finish fourth if Smith finishes last, third if Smith finishes 30th, second if Smith finishes 29th and win if Smith finishes 28th.
Below are all of the points scenarios for both contenders in both series as they enter Thursday’s race at Bristol.
ARCA Menards Series East championship points scenarios
Last season, Smith entered the East Series finale at Bristol needing to finish 19th or better to clinch the title. He’s in an even better position entering the 2022 East Series finale.
The 33-point cushion Smith has built over Gray means he needs to finish 28th or better at Bristol to win the title. And even if he finishes 29th, 30th or 31st, Gray would need to win (and earn bonus points) to steal the championship.
Below are the points scenarios for each driver depending upon where he finishes at Bristol. Bonus points are available to any driver who wins the General Tire Pole Award, leads a lap in the race and leads the most laps in the race.
(Points do not include the 50-point bonus drivers will receive at season’s end for running the complete East Series schedule.)
Sioux Chief Showdown championship points scenarios
Love is a little closer to Smith in the Showdown standings than Gray is in the East Series standings, but Smith still enjoys a comfortable edge heading into Bristol as he looks to claim the title.
Smith needs to finish 27th or better to claim the Showdown championship no matter where Love finishes, but a finish of 28th or worse would open the door for Love.
Below are the points scenarios for each driver depending upon where he finishes at Bristol.
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