- Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite team head to Atlanta Motor Speedway looking to continue the momentum they’ve built over the last seven races. The 19-year-old closed out the 2021 season with two victories (Bristol Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway) across the last five races and found victory lane in just the second race of the 2022 season at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. Smith led a race-high 32 laps at Las Vegas and made an impressive crossover move on the final lap of the race to bring home his third career victory. After two events, Smith sits atop of the Camping World Truck Series standings, five points ahead of Tanner Gray.
- Smith, who grew up 90 miles north of Atlanta Motor Speedway in Jasper, Ga., made a name for himself racing Bandoleros on the flat quarter-mile track located on the frontstretch known as the “Thunder Ring.” Smith earned 21 career Bandits Division victories across 40 starts in Atlanta’s Thursday Thunder Series and won three consecutive Bandits Division championships from 2012-2014. In 2014, the racing prodigy won eight consecutive races in the Bandits Division, tying the record set by Joey Logano in 2000. The record has since been broken.
- Saturday’s race will be the 19-year-old driver’s second start on the big track at Atlanta. Unfortunately for Smith, a parts failure in the right front of his Safelite Tundra caused him to visit pit road for unexpected pit stops twice early in last year’s event and relegated him to a disappointing 35th-place finish.
- Smith earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory. Across 38 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development product has collected two wins, 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes.
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will once again call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team in 2022. Stockman’s drivers have produced six victories at KBM across his first two seasons, including two with Smith behind the wheel in 2021. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s drivers have posted has two top-10 finishes across four starts at Atlanta, with a best result of sixth coming with Dillon in 2017.
- Safelite, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services, returns to KBM for a fifth season and will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s Tundra TRD Pro Tundra for 16 races this year, including Saturday’s race at Atlanta. Charge Me will serve as an associate sponsor on the bedtop of Smith’s No. 18 Tundra TRD Pro for 16 races this season, including Saturday at Atlanta. Charge Me was founded on the principle that the electric vehicle (EV) revolution will require robust infrastructure support at all levels.
- Two Georgia companies will be riding onboard Smith’s No. 18 Toyota as associate sponsors on Saturday. NGE Roofing, an experienced roofing contractor located in Smith’s hometown, Jasper, Ga., will share the bedtop with Charge Me. The Dawsonville, Ga. location of Bill Ballew Motorsports will be on the lower rear quarter panel. You can find the lowest prices on used Cars, Trucks and SUV’s at www.BillyBallewMotorsports.com.
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
Does already having a win change how you race the rest of the regular season?
“It definitely won’t change how I race moving forward, it will just allow myself and my 18 Safelite group to sleep better when it comes to cutoff time for the first round of the playoffs. Last year, we were in a really sticky situation going to Watkins Glen and we were all stressed out. Now that won’t be a factor and we can just go out and race to win.”
What does it mean to you to have some Georgia companies coming onboard for this race?
“It’s so cool, NGE is a local sponsor, a roofing company in my hometown, Jasper, Georgia and Billy Ballew has been a part of Kyle Busch’s career for ages. It’s really cool to have two Georgia companies sponsoring my truck race at Atlanta. Overall, I’m really looking forward to racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway because there is going to be a lot of people coming down from my hometown and a lot of family, so it should be cool.”
Do you feel like with the new surface and configuration that Saturday will race like a superspeedway race?
“It’ll definitely be a superspeedway race to say the least, we are going to be running the same engine package, everything is practically going to be the same as Daytona. There isn’t going to be anybody that can just drive away from the pack because it is going to be so draft dependent. Kind of Las Vegas nowadays, there was nobody that could drive away except for Zane (Smith) at the start of Stage 1 and that was because second, third and fourth were all racing each other and sucking each other back. It’s definitely going to be a plate race to say the least and a race of attrition.
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
- Across 40 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded three wins, 338 laps led, 15 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 14.7.
- Led 55 laps and finished eighth in his Camping World Truck Series debut at Iowa Speedway in July of 2019. Drove a limited schedule for KBM in 2019 (four races) and 2020 (12 races), before going full-time in 2021.
- 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.
- Has numerous Super Late Model victories across his career, including two marquee wins: the Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. (2021) and SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia (2018). Will compete in several Super Late Model events around his Truck Series schedule in 2022.
Chandler Smith’s No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro:
KBM-63: The No. 18 Safelite team will unload KBM-63 for Saturday’s race at Atlanta. In its most recent outing, this Tundra TRD pro led 48 laps last June at Nashville in Smith’s 13th-place finish. KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch drove KBM-63 to its lone victory across seven starts in June of 2020 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
KBM-63 Performance Profile:
|Starts||Wins||Average Start||Average Finish||Laps Led|
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected three wins, two poles, 689 laps led, 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8 across 26 starts at Atlanta. KBM Owner-driver Kyle Busch won in 2021 and 2019 and Christopher Bell brought home the trophy in 2017.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (91) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Bristol Motor Speedway last September, Smith became the 17th 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 24 career victories.