With a fifth-place finish at Sonoma on Saturday in the DoorDash 250, Chandler Smith closed the gap on reigning Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes to just five points with four races remaining to decide the regular season champion.
Smith’s fifth-place finish was his fifth consecutive top-10 finish and eighth overall across 12 starts in 2022.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started Saturday’s event from the third position after posting a lap of 79.818 seconds at 89.754 mph in Saturday morning’s qualifying session.
- The Safelite Tundra fell back to 17th early in the event but would gain a few positions and some teams elected to pit before the end of the stage. Smith would cross the stripe 13th to end the opening stanza.
Stage Two Recap:
- During the stage break, Smith communicated that the Safelite Tundra TRD Pro “needs more drive” before hitting pit road for four tires and fuel with a major chassis adjustment.
- When Stage Two went green on lap 25, the Georgia native was scored in the 25th position. Two laps later he had advanced to 12th when a caution occurred.
- Smith was running 11th when teams began to hit pit road. Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman elected to keep his young driver on track in an effort to score stage points and the move paid off as he would finish Stage Two in the second position.
Final Stage Recap:
- Before hitting pit road, Smith communicated that he needed “more drive and lateral bite” before hitting pit road for four fresh tires and fuel with a trackbar adjustment.
- With many drivers pitting before the end of Stage Two, Smith lined up 18 when the Final Stage went green on lap 49. Just over five laps later he was inside the top 10 and had advanced up to seventh before a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fourth time.
- Stockman summoned his young driver to pit road for four tires and fuel and he returned to the track scored eighth with 11 laps remaining.
- By the time the next caution occurred on lap 66, the Georgia driver had catapulted up to fourth. He had a strong restart and was able to tuck into the second position behind his owner and teammate, Kyle Busch.
- A three-truck incident on lap 70 set up NASCAR overtime. Smith spun his tires and didn’t get going on the restart and Busch drove off with the lead again. After overdriving a corner, Smith feel back in the running order and would bring the Safelite Tundra home fifth.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
Can you walk me through those last two laps?
“I made way too many mistakes honestly. I spun the tires like no tomorrow. We got clear and then the 38 (Zane Smith) got inside. Honestly, the race was so long at the very end – that green, white-checkered, when you got to the frontstretch, all the way to (turn) four, you couldn’t see at all and that threw me off so bad. Everybody was in the same boat, but I couldn’t literally see anything whatsoever. It threw me off really bad honestly, but I’m really happy. It was a really good big, picture day for my Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra. With that being sad, happy for everybody at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). Looking forward to going to play in some dirt.”
DoorDash 250 Race Recap:
- Busch earned his 62nd career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win. Zane Smith, Ty Majeski, Ross Chastain and Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were six cautions for 17 laps and 10 lead changes among five drivers.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished first.
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished eighth.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
Smith maintained the second position in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks series regular season standings. After 12 events, he sits five tallies behind reigning Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes.
Next Race: Smith will be behind the wheel of the No. 18 Charge Me Tundra TRD Pro when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Saturday, June 18th at Knoxville (Tenn.) Raceway. Live coverage of the Clean Harbor 150 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 9 p.m. ET.