LONG POND — In a race against his teammate and the rain, Zane Smith held off a furious charge from Sheldon Creed in the closing laps to win Friday’s ARCA race at Pocono Raceway.
Clouds loomed over the 2.5-mile track while Smith held a one-second advantage over Creed before the halfway point of the 60-lap event. Both drivers engaged in a hard-fought battle for the lead with rain in the vicinity as the two were side-by-side on lap 28.
The race became official after 33 laps when a downpour deluged the facility and Smith was declared the winner.
“I thought he was going to go around and both of us we’re going to pancake it into the fence or something and wait for whoever was in third to go by both of us,” Smith said. “Right when he got into me, both of us were chasing it up the track. I think I was mirror-watching all the way to the Tunnel Turn, and then I couldn’t see anything coming, so we must’ve had a big gap.
“I think we both knew we were racing until lap 31. I feel like he closed in a lot of that gap because we were about to run out of fuel. Halfway down the straightaway, it would just feel like I’d pull a parachute then come back to me.”
The two maintained the gap after the final restart while Creed kept pace with Smith’s No. 41 Toyota and had a chance to better his runner-up finish from June at the Tricky Triangle.
“Just hard racing, I knew we got that last restart with 11 to go until we got to half way,” Creed said. “I kind of knew that restart was going to be the decider because it’s really hard to pass here. He made the mistake that I needed and I got next to him and went down into (Turn 1) and I got super-loose underneath him and we both went up the racetrack.
“We were both pretty close, just racing hard. I had my shot to get to the lead and we kind of knew the rain was going to cut it short so took my shot when I had it and it didn’t work out.”
Smith snatched the lead from second-generation driver Todd Gilliland on an early restart. Gilliland led the first 13 laps before coming to pit road under a caution, just moments after losing the top spot.
MDM Motorsports scored a 1-2-3-4 finish, the first for the organization since joining the ARCA Racing Series circuit in 2016.
Creed unofficially leads Smith by 155 points in the series championship battle after Friday’s ModSpace 150 at Pocono Raceway.
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