Chandler Smith Makes WWTR Truck Debut

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Event: Toyota 200, Race 16 of 22 (Race 1 in the Round of 10), 160 Laps – 55/55/50; 200 Miles
Location: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Aug. 20, 2021 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90

Mr. Smith Goes World Wide:

Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head to World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) at Gateway for the first of three races in the Round of 10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. Smith finished the regular season 10th on the playoff grid, 10 points above the cutoff line for qualifying for the post season, after posting three top-five and five top-10 finishes across 15 races. With the points reset and his playoff point for winning a stage earlier this season at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway added in, the 19-year-old driver begins the Round of 10 ninth on the playoff grid, one point below the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8. Smith and fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Carson Hocevar, the eighth seed, are the only two drivers who will be competing for a championship for the first time. The other eight contenders have all competed for the Truck Series championship at least one time in previous seasons.

While this will be Smith’s first time taking part in the driver’s portion of the NASCAR Camping World Series playoffs, he has been a part of the owner’s playoffs for the No. 51 team each of the last two seasons. Last year, he recorded top-five finishes in all three races of the Round of 10 (Bristol Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway) advancing the No. 51 team to the Round of 8. He opened the Round of 8 up with another top-five finish at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City before an accident relegated him to a 21st-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in the second race of the round and then after Brandon Jones finished 17th in the final race in the Round of 8 the No. 51 team was eliminated from playoff contention. In 2019, Smith opened the 51 team’s owner’s-championship season up with a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in the first race of the playoffs, his only playoff start that year.

Smith has at least one Truck Series start at all seven tracks that will be contested during the 2021 playoffs, including two starts at World Wide Technology Raceway. In just the second start of his Truck Series career, the Georgia native came from the 25th starting position to finish fourth in the 2019 event at the 1.25-mile track. Last year, he was involved in a mid-race accident that relegated him to a 24th-place result. He has also made two ARCA Menards Series starts at the Illinois track, including a runner-up finish in the 2020 event.

The talented teenager ranks second to his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek among full-time Truck Series drivers with 165 laps led this season. The Georgia native has accumulated 119 of those laps led over the last four races of the regular season. He and Kraus were tied for the most laps led (48) at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway and Smith led a race-high 71 laps at Knoxville.

The Toyota Racing Development driver has 11 top-five, and 14 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 15.2 across 31 career Camping World Truck Series starts. His runner-up finish at Knoxville (Tenn.) Raceway earlier this season equaled the career-best finish he achieved at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in 2019.

Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman calls the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team this season. Stockman led the No. 51 team to four wins in his first season atop the pit box at KBM in 2020. He came to the organization with experience as a crew chief in all three national series, including a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s Truck Series drivers have two starts at WWTR, with Dillon’s seventh-place finish in 2010 being the best result.

Safelite AutoGlass – the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement, and recalibration services – will serve as the primary sponsor on Smith’s Tundra this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway and for 16 races total this season. Smith General Contracting and Fortune-Johnson, a premier building contractor for multifamily projects in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, will be associate partners on the bedtop of the No. 18 Toyota for Friday’s 160-lap event.

Chandler Smith | World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Preview

Does having some prior experience at Gateway give you confidence heading into Friday?

“I feel like Gateway is one of my better tracks on the Truck Series schedule. It’s a short track in my opinion. I’ve had really strong runs in a truck and I’m definitely looking forward to going there again.”

Evaluate your regular season.

“Overall, I would say our regular season has been very up and down. We’ve had a lot of bad luck and a little good luck. We’ve had some pretty decent runs. We’ve had races where we were really good, and something happened. I’m looking to flip all that going into the playoffs. Trying to flip all this luck around and hopefully we have our dividends paid in for this luck deal going into the playoffs.:

Do you feel like your team can win the Truck Series championship this year?

“I don’t think there is any excuse of anything keeping us from winning the championship. I think the only thing holding us back is beating ourselves or having bad luck. These last few races we’ve been really, really good and we haven’t been able to show it because something happens – mechanical failures or something happens on pit road, get caught up in someone else’s mess – that’s all part of racing. At the same time, when is enough enough? Do these things that you can’t control justify how good your team is and kind of question can this team win a championship?

Chandler Smith Career Highlights:

Across 31 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded 258 laps led, 11 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 15.2.

Posted an average finish of 7.7 across his final seven of 12 total Truck Series starts in 2020, including third-place finishes in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway and his first career superspeedway start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October.

Produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Camping World 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, 1783 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.4 across 34 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’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:

KBM-60: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-060 for Saturday’s 160-lap event at World Wide Technology Raceway. Smith has raced KBM-60 twice this season, with a best result of fourth at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in April. Brandon Jones picked up his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway with the same Tundra last June and KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch was victorious with this chassis at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway last March.

KBM-60 Performance Profile
KBM Notes of Interest:
KBM drivers have collected two wins, 363 laps led, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.6 across 23 starts at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Christopher Bell was victorious at the 1.25-mile track in 2016 and Darrell Wallace Jr., won the 2014 event.

KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (88) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Truex Jr. became the 16th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. 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).

The No. 18, the number which was on the first Tundra that went to victory lane for KBM in 2010, has 21 career victories.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.