Multiple graduates of the ARCA Menards Series platform had successful weekends in the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series at Phoenix Raceway.
ARCA grads swept the top five in Saturday’s Xfinity race, with two-time reigning ARCA Menards Series East champion Sammy Smith claiming his first Xfinity Series victory. Smith, who has six ARCA Menards Series wins along with eight East Series wins and a single West Series triumph, started 11th and led 92 of the race’s 200 laps on his way to victory.
Another two-time East Series champion, Ryan Truex, finished in the runner-up spot. Truex, who was the East Series titlist in 2009 and 2010, finished 0.641 seconds behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate to score his sixth top-five finish and his best result since he finished second, also at Phoenix, in March 2019.
Sheldon Creed, the 2018 ARCA Menards Series champion, finished third to earn his fifth top-five result in Xfinity competition. Creed is a four-time ARCA Menards Series race winner and one-time West Series winner. He also won the 2020 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship and has eight Truck Series wins.
Two-time ARCA Menards Series race winner Riley Herbst finished fourth in the Xfinity Series race at Phoenix, his first top-five finish of the season and his seventh consecutive top-10 finish dating back to the end of 2022. Herbst finished third in the 2018 ARCA Menards Series championship standings.
Ten-time ARCA Menards Series race winner Chandler Smith rounded out the top five. Smith, who won at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park last July, scored his third consecutive top-five finish to go along with a fourth at Auto Club Speedway and a third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Sunday’s top five in the Cup Series race at Phoenix found a similar wealth of ARCA platform graduates.
William Byron scored his second consecutive Cup Series victory. Byron, the 2015 ARCA Menards Series East champion, has four East Series wins. He eventually went on to finish fifth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings in 2016 before earning the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in his rookie year in 2017.
Ryan Blaney, who won a West Series race at Phoenix in 2011, finished second, just in front of Tyler Reddick, who won an East Series race at Rockingham in 2012.
Another East Series champion, 2012 titlist Kyle Larson, finished fourth, ahead of 1998 ARCA Menards Series West champion Kevin Harvick in fifth.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series platform is the East Series opener, the Pensacola 200, at Five Flags Speedway on Saturday, March 25. The race will be available to watch live on FloRacing starting at 7 p.m. ET.