Chandler Smith Makes Third Truck Start

Kyle Busch

Event: KDI Office Technology 200, Race 13 of 23, 200 laps – 45/45/110; 200 miles
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway in Delaware (one-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Aug. 21, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90

What You Need to Know:

Chandler Smith will make his third NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series start of 2020 driving the No. 51 JBL Tundra Friday at Dover International Speedway. Friday’s event will mark the 18-year-old driver’s first start in any series at the Monster Mile. Smith has two Gander Trucks starts this season, a 22nd-place finish in the rain-shortened event at Kentucky Speedway and in his most recent outing he was involved in a mid-race accident that relegated him to a 38th-place finish.

Smith, who turned 18 on June 26, is the latest highly touted prospect out of the Toyota Racing Development Program. The Georgia native produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2019. He led 55 laps and finished eighth in his Gander Trucks debut at Iowa Speedway last July and then posted top-five finishes in his final three starts, including a runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

In addition to his limited Truck Series schedule this season, Smith is also competing in his third season of part-time action in the ARCA Menards Series. He has made seven starts in that series this season, winning twice; at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway in March and at Lucas Oil Raceway in Claremont, Ind. and finishing in the runner-up spot twice. Despite only starting seven of the 10 events, the racing prodigy sits ninth in the points standings, is tied for the series lead with two poles and is second in laps led (297).

The Triple Truck Challenge continues this weekend at Dover in the Gander Truck Series. This year’s program consists of the events at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Aug. 21) and Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 30). An extra $50,000 from Gander RV & Outdoors is on the line for each of those three events, should a driver win two of the three races he will get a $150,000 bonus and if a driver can win all three races, they will get a $500,00 bonus.
Across 27 career ARCA Menards Series starts, Smith has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1726 laps led, 19 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 4.3. He 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. Despite not competing full time, Smith paced the series in laps led in 2018 and 2019.

Smith made one CARS Racing Tour Super Late Model start this year, finishing second to Bubba Pollard at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on June 13. He made five starts for KBM’s Super Late Model program last season, earning a runner-up finish in the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (Tenn.) and sixth-place finishes in the Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

The No. 51 team ranks fourth in the owner’s point standings after 12 races, trailing the No. 16 team by 62 tallies. So far this season the team has four wins, one pole, five top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.9. Kyle Busch captured victories at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, while Brandon Jones was victorious at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.

Chandler Smith Dover Q&A

After your first two starts were on intermediate tracks are you looking forward to racing at Dover this weekend, which is a mile track?

“Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to Dover. It is a little smaller track. Dover is not particularly a short track. Short tracks are my strong suit. This season has been a little rough for us so far, but I feel like going forward we are going to be a lot better as a team. We’ve gotten to learn each other over the two races, and I think we are going to be really good at Dover.”

How have you prepared for going to Dover for the first time?

“Yeah, so it is going to be my first time at Dover. The main thing I’ve done to prepare for that is simulator time. Me, Danny, and my engineers at KBM have been hard at work and getting hours at the simulator on Dover. I feel like we are really close on the simulator, so hopefully it translates to having a fast JBL Tundra in real life.”

Does having an extra $50,000 on the line for the Triple Truck Challenge motivate you any more than normal?

“Having $50,000 on the line is a lot of money. It’s definitely motivated me to be a little better, try to prepare a little better, hydrate, and everything that is under my control, I’m making sure that is the reason we don’t win. Yeah, I would say having 50 grand motivates me a little more.”

Chandler Smith Career Highlights:

Across six career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series starts has recorded 60 laps led, three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8

Produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2019. He led 55 laps and finished eighth in his Gander Trucks debut at Iowa Speedway last July and then posted top-five finishes in his final three starts, including a runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1726 laps led, 19 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 4.3 across 27career ARCA Menards Series starts. 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.

Despite competing in a limited schedule, he led the ARCA Menards Racing Series in laps led in 2018 and 2019.

Chandler Smith No. 51 JBL Tundra:

KBM-57: The No. 51 JBL team will race KBM-057 for Friday’s race at Dover. Kyle Busch led 25 laps and finished second with the Tundra at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May and most recently Smith finished 22nd with it in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

KBM Notes of Interest:

Across 26 starts at Dover, KBM drivers have collected three wins, three poles, 821 laps led, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.6.

Owner-driver Kyle Busch has earned all three of his organization’s victories at Dover (2011, 2013 and 2014).

KBM holds the NGROTS records for most career wins (79) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).With 34 victories, the No. 51 is the winningest number in KBM’s Truck Series fleet.

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

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