Date: May 28, 2021
Event: N.C. Education Lottery 200 (Race 10 of 22)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 23rd/6th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: John Hunter Nemechek of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
After contact with another competitor just before the halfway mark of the N.C. Education Lottery 200 caused significant damage to the right rear quarter panel and bumper of the Safelite Tundra, the over-the-wall team was able to piece it back together over a handful of pit stops which allowed Chandler Smith to battle back to a sixth-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
- After Friday afternoon’s qualifying session was washed out because of rain, Smith lined up 23rd for the 134-lap event based on NASCAR’s performance-matrix formula per the NASCAR rule book.
- The Georgia native was able to gain five positions in the opening stanza despite communicating to veteran crew chief Danny Stockman that his Safelite Tundra was “a couple numbers free.”
Stage Two Recap:
- Between stages Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a wedge adjustment in an effort to tighten up the No. 18 machine. Smith lined up on the top of the seventh row when Stage Two went green on Lap 38.
- On the opening lap of the stage, an accordion effect happened in front of Smith and trucks had to go three and four-wide in an effort to stay in a forward moving path. Contact between Smith and another competitor caused significant damage to the right-rear quarter panel and bumper cover of the Safelite Tundra.
- Smith was able to continue but communicated that the damage had caused the handling of his Toyota to swing to “wrecking loose.”
- A lap-49 caution allowed the over-the-wall crew to go to work on Smith’s Tundra. After making multiple trips to pit road to apply bearbond to the body, put on four fresh tires and fill it with fuel, the 18-year-old driver lined up at the tail of the field due to pitting before pit road was open.
- He would finish the second stage in the 19th position.
Final Stage Recap:
- With a limited number of laps on the tires, Stockman kept his young driver on the track between stages. Smith lined up on the bottom of row six when the Final Stage went green on lap 68.
- Over the opening laps of the final stanza Smith maneuvered his way forward and was running in the ninth position when he was summoned to pit road by Stockman under green-flag conditions with just over 30 laps remaining.
- After getting four fresh Goodyear tires and enough Sunoco fuel to make it to the end of the race, the rookie driver returned to the track. With 25 laps remaining, he was scored 11th, but the top two drivers had not pitted yet.
- When stops cycled through with 20 laps remaining the Safelite Tundra was running ninth.
- After a major accident on lap 115 put the field under caution for nine laps, the Toyota Racing Development driver elected to restart from the bottom of the fourth row when the field went back green with 10 laps remaining.
- A solid restart allowed Smith to fall in line in the sixth position once the field went back green. He would end the race in the same spot.
How was your race?
“Our mindset going into tonight was that we were just going to be patient and work our way through the field. We knew that we were going to have a good Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra. We just needed to pick and choose our battles and we would get there eventually. The 13 (Johnny Sauter) and I got into it on a restart. Ended up taking a good bit of our sideforce away on the right-rear quarter panel, so we had to fix that because it was almost undrivable. Then when we fixed that, we made the call to get a little track position. Then once we got a little track position, we started picking our way through the field and captured a P-6 finish.”
N.C. Education Lottery 200 Recap:
- KBM driver John Hunter Nemechek picked up his third win of 2021 and the ninth of his NASCAR Camping World Trucks career. It was KBM’s sixth victory of 2021. Carson Hocevar finished 0.419 seconds behind Nemechek in the runner-up position. Ben Rhodes, Steward Friesen, and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were 12 lead changes among nine different drivers. There were five cautions for 31 laps.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished first.
- Drew Dollar, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 20th.
Camping World Trucks Driver Championship Standings:
Smith and the No. 18 team remained 13th in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. They leave the 10th race on the Camping World Truck Series schedule in the 11th position, 10 points behind Johnny Sauter for the 10th and final playoff spot.
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Saturday June 12 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Live coverage of the SpeedyCash.com 220 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1 p.m. ET.