- Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite team head to the Championship 4 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway looking to bring home the eighth overall championship and third driver title to KBM. The 20-year-old driver advanced to the Championship 4 by finishing the Round of 8 third on the playoff grid, 13 points above the cutoff line.
- Smith is the defending winner of the Phoenix truck race. After narrowly missing out on a bid to compete for last year’s championship, the Georgia driver stole the show in the championship race. He captured the pole and all three stages en route to the second win of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Across three Truck Series starts at the Arizona track, he has compiled an average finish of 2.3, with his win last year and a pair of third-place finishes (2019 and 2020). He also went to victory lane in his lone ARCA Menards Series start at the one-mile oval in 2020.
- The Toyota Racing Development product has produced three wins in 2022, tying him with Zane Smith for the series lead. He won the second race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the regular season finale at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and in the Round of 8 at Richmond. Across 22 Truck Series starts this season Smith has recorded eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. He ranks first among Truck Series regulars in laps led (440), average running position (8.784) and laps completed (3032), is second in average finish (9.0), third in driver rating (101.8) and quality passes (715), and fourth in fastest laps run (205).
- The No. 18 Safelite team will be unloading the same Tundra TRD Pro that Smith won with at Phoenix last season, KBM-70. The chassis has totaled three victories, last year at Phoenix, earlier this year at Las Vegas and in this year’s Round of 8 at Richmond.
- In addition to having a truck with a winning history, Smith will have Danny Stockman calling the shots for him, a crew chief with championship pedigree. 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 produced one win, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.3 across three Truck Series starts at Phoenix. In the series most recent visit he picked up the win with Smith last year. Across 12 Xfinity Series starts at the one-mile track his drivers have registered four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 6.3. Stockman has captured nine wins as a crew chief since joining KBM, including five with Smith.
- Smith earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 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 of 2021. Across 60 career Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development driver had recorded five wins, one pole, 746 laps led, 22 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8.
- Safelite, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services, returned to KBM for a fifth season in 2022 and will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s Tundra TRD Pro Tundra for Friday night’s championship race.
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
You finished last season strong. How do that help propel you to the Championship 4 this year?
“I feel like last year, the last three quarters of last year we showed what we were going to have in store for this year. We were really good at the end of last year – started getting wins and running up front every single week and were the truck to beat almost every other week – where the year before we were hit or miss. We ended up getting our stuff together, we were more consistent, winning races and I told the guys next year we are out for blood – we’re going to go get them next year. And look, we’re sitting here talking about running for a championship and it has just been an amazing experience.”
Does your performance at Phoenix last year give you confidence heading into Friday night?
“It gives us a lot of data; we know what works and doesn’t work at Phoenix. Looking back at last year, we were really good, got the pole and won both the stages and the race. And if you look to the year before, we ran at the back but salvaged a good finish. We’ve been on both sides of the totem pole – we were absolutely horrible and then we went and stomped their butts. We have a lot of notes, I think obviously it would be dumb of us not to go back with what we had, and I think that is what we are going to do. We just can’t beat ourselves. We know how to win there, and we know how to qualify good there and track position is definitely big because the race is really short. Qualifying good, staying up front and staying out of trouble and racing the race track. We’ve produced fast Toyota Tundras all year, so there is no reason we stop now.”
Danny Stockman, Crew Chief Q&A:
You’ve won two NASCAR National Series championships. Does that help you prepare your team for Friday?
“It all starts throughout the season, and you work on your driver, and you work on your team to be able to perform in this moment. The moment is huge, and you don’t get these opportunities every year and you don’t get Chandler Smith’s every year and when you have these opportunities and these moments you have to excel. We’ve been preparing ourselves throughout the season to be able to do that and there is no other team in this garage that I would rather take then who I have and no other driver. I truthfully feel in my heart that win can go there and win the race and the championship at the same time.”
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
- Across 60 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded five wins, 746 laps led, 22 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8.
- 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.
- Has posted an average finish of 22.0 across two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2022, with a best result of seventh coming in his most recent outing at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
- Has collected 10 wins, 10 poles, 1894 laps led, 23 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.2 across 35 career ARCA Menards Series starts.
Chandler Smith’s No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro:
KBM-70: The No. 18 Safelite team will unload KBM-70 for Friday night’s Championship 4 race. Smith has three victories with this Tundra TRD Pro, including last year’s season finale at Phoenix. Most recently Smith dominated the opening race of the Round of 8 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway with this Tundra TRD Pro leading 176 of 250 laps. He picked up his first win of 2022 earlier this year at Las Vegs Motor Speedway with this chassis.
KBM-70 Performance Profile:
|Starts||Wins||Average Start||Average Finish||Laps Led|
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected six wins, six poles, 953 laps led, 15 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.1 across 34 starts at Phoenix Raceway. The organization’s six victories at the Arizona track have come with five different drivers, with Smith’s victory in last year’s event being the most recent. Kyle Busch won in 2011, Brian Scott in 2012, Erik Jones went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014 while Daniel Suarez claimed the top spot in 2016.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (98) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway earlier this year, Corey Heim became the 18th 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 26 career victories.