Written by Adrian Beecher
Talladega, AL – Zane Smith took home his second win of the season, just four races into the ARCA schedule on Friday night, inching out Joe Graf Jr. in a photo finish. He was able to avoid the seven accidents and waited out a red flag to battle door to tor for a mile on the final lap with Graf Jr. to take home the General Tire 200 Title at Talladega Superspeedway.
“To be honest, I didn’t even know if I won that.” said an excited, but clearly exhausted Smith after the race. “My spotter was like, “ah, damn,” like kind of yelling obviously. I’m like, are you kidding me, we lost this? And he was like no you actually won it!”
It was the closest finish in the history of the ARCA series, which was founded back in 1953. The measuring devices on the cars registered the same finish time, and the officials had to go to a photo to determine the winner of the race. Before it was all final, both drivers thought they had won.
“I’m going to be honest with you. I thought I won it, and going down the backstretch, they weren’t sure who won it.” explained 2nd place finisher, Graf Jr., “The showed the replay. My spotter came over the radio and told me I did win it, so I thought I did for a minute. Then, when it went up to the review, it ended up being Zane. It was just so close there at the end; it was tough to tell.”
It would have been the first career win for Graf Jr., but instead becomes his first career top-five finish in his inagural season in the ARCA Series.
The Series points leader, Sheldon Creed wrapped DEGA with a fourth straight top-five finish to start the season. Creed led 23 laps in his fourth-place finish, including the first lap of the race after overtaking pole sitter Michael Self on the opening lap. Self would finish 3rd, while Creed would become the victim of the final pass for the lead in the race on lap 80 as Zane Smith made the pass on Creed and held on till the end.
The Arca Series next stop on the circuit will be Toledo Speedway on May 22nd in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care. A full list of the 2018 ARCA schedule can be viewed here.