Chandler Smith was running fifth with five laps reaming in Saturday’s XPEL 225 at COTA when he radioed to his crew that he was experience an issue with rear end of his Safelite Tundra TRD Pro. Smith fell back a few positions before a late caution came out and sent the race into overtime.
Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman summoned his young driver to pit road, where the team evaluated that the issue was a loose wheel. After putting four fresh tires on Smith’s Toyota, he returned to the track scored in the 24th position. Over the course of two overtime periods, the talented teenager was able to work his way back to the fifth position by the time the race ended.
With his third top-five finish of the season, Smith maintained his lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season standings. He leads reigning champion Ben Rhodes by 15 points.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started Saturday’s event from the 12th position after posting a lap of 90.226 seconds at 136.059 mph in Friday’s qualifying session.
- Smith was running sixth when he hit pit road for the first time under green-flag conditions on lap 9. After getting four fresh tires and a trackbar adjustment he returned to the track and would end the opening stage in the 20th position as the majority of teams had not yet made a pit stop.
Stage Two Recap:
- The No. 18 team was scored in the eighth position when Stage Two went green on lap 14.
- One lap later when another caution slowed the field Smith had advanced up to the sixth position.
- He was running fifth on lap 21 when the third caution of the race occurred. Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop, and the Georgia driver would be scored in 10th for the lap-22 restart.
- He would remain in the fifth spot when the second stanza came to a completion on lap 26. Stockman ordered Smith to be in “max fuel saving.”
Final Stage Recap:
- With other teams having to pit, Smith would line up in the second position when the Final Stage went green.
- With just over 10 laps remaining he communicated to his crew that he was experiencing issues with his brakes functioning properly. He was told to make sure that he was keeping them pumped up.
- With five laps remaining he was scored in the fifth spot but began to fall back as he reported an issue in the rear of the Safelite Tundra.
- When a caution set up NASCAR overtime, Stockman summoned his young drive to pit road to examine the issue and put four fresh tires on the truck. While on pit road, the over-the-wall crew determined that the issue was a loose wheel.
- Smith was scored 24th for the first overtime and 17th for the second overtime. As trucks scattered everywhere over the final two laps, Smith was able to maneuver his way back up to the fifth position when the race came to a close on lap 4.6
What was the biggest challenge for you today at COTA?
“Track position and then at the very end – we probably would have ran second if everything had went good. We just had a loose wheel and had to come in and get tires, and we still ended up salvaging a top-five at the very end with the green-white-checkered. Happy with my whole Safelite, ChargeMe Toyota KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) group and we’ll move forward.”
XPEL 225 Recap:
- Zane Smith picked up his second win of 2022 and the fifth of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Busch, Ben Rhodes and Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were eight cautions for 12 laps. There were 10 lead changes among six drivers, including Smith who led one lap.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished second.
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished third.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
Smith maintained his lead in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks series regular season standings. After four events, he sits 15 tallies ahead of reigning Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes.
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Thursday, April 7th at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Live coverage of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 8 p.m. ET.