Chandler Smith Makes First Truck Texas Start

Kyle Busch

Event: SpeedyCash.com 400, Race 21 of 23, 147 Laps – 35/35/77; 220.5 Miles
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth(1.5-mile quad-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 25, 2020 at noon ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90

Chatter about Chandler:

Chandler Smith and the No. 51 JBL team head to Texas Motor Speedway for the second race in the Round of 8 in the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series owner’s playoffs. On the strength of Smith’s fifth-place finish last week at Kansas Speedway, the No. 51 team moved up two positions to sixth on the owner’s playoff grid, 13 points behind the cutoff line to advancing to the Championship 4. Brandon Jones will take the reins of the No. 51 Tundra at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 30 for the final race of the round. KBM has collected a series-record seven owner’s championships since its inception in 2010, including last season with the No. 51 team.

Sunday will mark Smith’s first start in any series at Texas Motor Speedway and just his fourth-career start on a mile-and-a-half track in the Truck Series. The Georgian has finished fifth in each of his last two starts on 1.5-mile tracks, including last week at Kansas Speedway, after finishing 22nd at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The No. 51 team quickly turned around the Tundra he raced last week at Kansas to bring this week to Texas. KBM-67 is also the Toyota that Kyle Busch led 72 laps en route to victory at Texas in July.

After a tough start to his 2020 Gander Trucks season, which saw Smith finish 20th or worse in each of his first five starts, the Toyota Racing Development product has righted the ship and enters this weekend’s event with the momentum of four consecutive top-five finishes. The 18-year-old racing prodigy finished a season-best third in his first-ever superspeedway race Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and has finished fifth at Kansas Speedway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. Overall, in 10 Truck Series starts this season, Smith has recorded 37 laps led, four top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 16.8.

Smith’s average finish over the last five Truck Series events this year is 4.5 compared to an average finish of 25.2 across his first five starts this season.

In addition to his limited Truck Series schedule this year, the Toyota Racing Development prodigy competed in his third season of part-time action in the ARCA Menards Series. He finished the ARCA season with two wins, two poles, 332 laps led, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 6.4. Across 32 career ARCA Menards Series starts, Smith has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.2.

Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman leads the No. 51 team in 2020. Stockman called the shots for Austin Dillon’s championship efforts in both the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (2011) and the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2013) and has experience as a crew chief in all three national series. In Dillon’s Gander Trucks championship season, the pair totaled two wins, five poles, 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The majority of Stockman’s experience atop the pit box has come in the Xfinity Series, where his drivers have recorded seven wins, 19 poles, 80 top-five and 148 top-10 finishes across 209 starts from 2012 to 2018. Stockman’s drivers have an average finish of 11.4 across five starts at Texas in Truck Series action, including Busch’s win in the July event.

The No. 51 team leads the Truck Series in wins (four), three with owner-driver Kyle Busch and one with Brandon Jones, laps led (398), and fastest laps run (284).

Chandler Smith Texas Q&A

You have four consecutive top-five finishes. Do you feel like your first truck win is just around the corner?

“With four consecutive top-five finishes, I think it is about due time that we get a win. We are going to get after it these next two races and go after the owner’s title.”

You’re going to a new track this week, but it is one that your team won earlier this year with Kyle. How closely will you look at your team’s notes from that race?

“Going to another mile-and-a-half this week, I think we have good momentum built up, especially from Kansas and Las Vegas. I think we have a good mile-and-a-half program going for us. We have some good setups that we working really well for us. I’m really pumped about going to another mile-and-a-half to be honest. I’ve never been to Texas. My JBL team already has success there with Kyle, so they have a good notebook. We have a good notebook from all these other mile-and-a-half events that we’ve been to previously from what we’ve been trying to do. It’s working out for us. I’m excited.”

Does it put any added pressure on you that your team won at Texas already this year?

“No. It doesn’t add any pressure considering Kyle won there earlier this year with the same team. This team overall is a winning, championship team, so I think we should be able to pull off the same results.”

Chandler Smith Career Highlights:

Across 14 career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series starts has recorded 93 laps led, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.4.

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, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.2 across 33 career 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.

Chandler Smith No. 51 JBL Tundra:

KBM-67: The No. 51 JBL team will race KBM-67 for Saturday’s race at Texas. This is the same Tundra that Smith raced to a fifth-place finish last week at Kansas Speedway. Kyle Busch led 72 laps en route to victory with the Tundra in July at Texas Worth in its maiden voyage.

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

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