The 2020 season has seen 16-year-old Sammy Smith make his first foray into the Super Late Model world in one of the most potent rides in the discipline – the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51. This weekend, the Iowa driver will now hop into another strong ride that has been no stranger to victory lane.
Smith has teamed up with crew chief Toby Nuttleman to pilot the Brad Mannstedt-owned No. 91 normally driven by Ty Majeski for Saturday’s ARCA Midwest Tour Joe Shear Classic at Dells Raceway Park. He joins a team that has scored 25 wins in the ARCA Midwest Tour since 2014 – 24 with Majeski and one with Carson Kvapil back in 2018.
However, Smith had to go talk to his boss at Kyle Busch Motorsports before accepting the ride for this weekend.
“I’m very excited, I can’t thank Toby Nuttleman for allowing me to do it and KBM for giving me the opportunity,” Smith told Speed51. “Toby called and asked if I wanted to run it this weekend and we were off, and Kyle and Rudy (Fugle) were okay with it, so we decided to go run it.”
It will mark Smith’s second-career start with the series, after making his debut at the Dixieland 250 last month alongside NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, who also competed in the event. While he has just one win in the Super in 2020 coming during the World Series of Asphalt, he has steadily improved throughout his first full-time season in a Super. He has four top-five finishes this season, with runner-up efforts at Jennerstown Speedway and at Franklin County Speedway two weeks ago while performing well at the Redbud 400 and Rattler 250.
While Majeski will not be in attendance at Dells Raceway Park Saturday night due to NASCAR Truck Series obligations the next day, he has remained heavily involved with Smith’s preparation going into the 200-lap main event.
“We tested a couple weeks ago at the Dells and I’ve been talking to him a lot on the phone just to try to get as much insight as I can into what he does and how he makes those cars go fast. He’s been helping me a lot. I’ve been there once in a Legends car but never in a Late Model, so he’s been helping me out a lot and coaching me.”
Smith’s only other start at Dells came back in 2018 in the Legends car, where he scored a top-five finish during his cross-country Legends racing tour. Even with the previous experience, Smith entered the test session not knowing what to expect with the 1/3-mile oval.
“When I raced there in the Legend car, they didn’t have the new pavement there on the bottom. A Legend car and a Late Model are totally different, not even similar. I knew some of the bumps that were there getting into one. When we tested there a couple weeks ago, it went good and I learned a lot.”
As he gets set for his first start with Nuttleman in the Mannstedt Super Late Model, Smith goes in without feeling the pressure. While he would always like to end the night in victory lane, he just hopes for a good run against the Upper Midwest’s best.
“There’s really no pressure when I race. You’ve obviously got to perform. Hopefully we can go and have a good run Saturday. Obviously, we want to win but a top-five and a strong finish would feel good. The ARCA Midwest Tour is very competitive but we want to win.”
Speed51, “The Official Video Home of the Midwest Tour,” will be on location at Dells Raceway Park on Saturday and will have post-race video highlights of the Joe Shear Classic on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo