Chandler Smith Debuts With KBM At Iowa

Kyle Busch

Event:                                  M&M’s 200 (Race 10 of 23), 200 Laps – 60/60/80; 175

MilesLocation:               Iowa Speedway in Newton (7/8-mile oval)

Date/Broadcast:           June 15, 2019 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90

What You Need to Know

  • Sixteen-year-old Chandler Smith will make his first ever NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start this weekend at Iowa Speedway in the No. 51 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra. The standout young driver, a Georgia-native, has 13 ARCA Racing Series starts under his belt, with three wins and six poles. In one ARCA start at Iowa he started seventh and finished second. His most recent win came May 19 at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway, where he led 140 of 152 laps in the rain-shortened event. In addition to his ARCA Racing Series experience, Smith has competed in some marquee Super Late Model events and has taken home a win in the CRA SpeedFest in Cordele, Ga., and finished second in the prestigious Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 2018.
  • To prepare for his Gander Trucks debut, Smith tested with the No. 51 team as part of a rookie test at Iowa on May 24. The talented teenager was able to make 250 laps around the 7/8-mile oval.
  • In addition to his debut in the No. 51 Tundra at Iowa Speedway, Smith will also compete for that team Aug. 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and he will compete for the No. 46 Gander Trucks team for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) June 28 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Ill., and Nov. 7 at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. He will also climb behind the wheel of the No. 51 KBM Super Late Model and race the Winchester 400 Oct. 13 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, the All-American 400 Nov. 3 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., and the Snowball Derby Dec. 2 at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
  • Veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle leads the 51 team this season. Fugle has guided his team to four Owner’s Championships (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017) as a crew chief at KBM, including combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championships with Erik Jones in 2015 and Christopher Bell in 2017. The New York native’s drivers have combined for 28 wins, 22 poles, 62 top-five and 97 top-10 finishes across his 121 races calling the shots for the organization. In six races, Fugle’s drivers have two wins at Iowa Speedway, Erik Jones in 2015 and William Byron in 2016, two runner-up finishes, five top-five and six top-10 finishes.
  • After nine races, the No. 51 team leads the owner’s points standings by 32 markers over second place. The team has earned six wins with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel for five of those and veteran driver Biffle earning the most recent one at Texas Motor Speedway. The team has two poles, seven top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
  • Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, will adorn the hood of Smith’s Tundra for this weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway. Safelite will return to Harrison Burton’s No. 18 Tundra next week at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Chandler Smith, Driver Q&AWhat are you looking forward to about your first start?

“I think it’s really cool. I’ve always dreamed about racing in NASCAR in general, whether it’s the Truck Series or Xfinity Series or even the Cup Series when I get a little older, if I ever get that opportunity. It’s definitely kind of a dream come true. I’ve always dreamed of racing when I was a little kid, when I was watching NASCAR and I was like ‘I really want to do this someday,’ and look where I am now. I’m doing it now and for the best team there is in the series. I’m very blessed to be where I am now, and thankful for everyone that’s been around me and that’s gotten me here.” 

How will your ARCA Racing Series experience at Iowa help you this weekend?

“I think it will help a lot and especially since we went there and tested the truck. I’m really familiar with the track and I’m really comfortable moving around in different lanes. I’m going to have to get used to the aero deal, with racing around trucks, all the dirty air, it’s just going to be a learning curve for me, so I feel like that’s going to be the biggest challenge, just getting used to that. Being able to make the right moves and at the right time is important. I think that’s going to be the biggest thing, but other than that I really like Iowa, and the trucks are the perfect fit for that track, so I’m really excited to get there. 

Chandler Smith Career Highlights

  • Smith set an ARCA Racing Series record by winning four consecutive poles to start his career and earned his first victory after leading a race-high 102 laps at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in his fourth series start. He was also victorious at Salem (Ind.) Speedway last September when he led all but one circuit of the 200-lap event.
  • In 2018, Smith totaled two wins, four poles, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes, while posting an average starting position of 3.3 and an average finish of 4.3 across his nine ARCA Racing starts last year. Despite competing in only nine of the 20 races, the racing prodigy led all drivers with 763 laps led. This year, the talented teenager has four additional ARCA starts, picking up another win at Toledo Speedway and two additional poles.
  • Smith has also competed in some of the biggest Super Late Model events the last few seasons. He earned his first marquee win in January of 2018 in the CRA SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga., edging out short-track legend Bubba Pollard.
  • He also won the pole, led 97 laps and finished second in the 2018 Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and finished third in the 2017 running of the event. The talented teenager has also posted an average finish of 6.0 across three starts in the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. Fla.

Chandler Smith’s No. 51 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:KBM-038: 

Crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 Safelite AutoGlass team have prepared KBM-038 for the M&M’s 200 this Saturday at Iowa Speedway. This chassis was last taken out by owner-driver Kyle Busch at Martinsville Speedway in March, where he earned the grandfather clock. This machine has also been piloted to victory by Noah Gragson once, Christopher Bell three times and William Byron once.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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