Date: Aug. 15, 2019
Event: UNOH 200 (Race 17 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Format: Three Segments; 55 laps/55 laps/90 laps
Start/Finish: 7th/2nd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Winner: Brett Moffitt of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Chandler Smith continued to make an impression in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in just his third series start. On Thursday morning, Smith was 11th-fastest in both Gander Trucks practices. Under the hot sun on Thursday afternoon, Smith earned the seventh starting spot in one round of single-truck qualifying on the legendary, high-banked half-mile.
The green flag for the UNOH 200 flew under the lights on Thursday evening, and Smith began the race in seventh. Within 26 laps, the talented teenager had moved into the top five, where he remained, only falling back momentarily following a four-tire pit stop. Smith aggressively pursued the lead in the closing laps through several caution periods and restarts, but came up just short to eventual winner Brett Moffitt.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith, in his first Gander Trucks qualifying attempt at Bristol Motor Speedway, earned the seventh starting spot in one round of single-truck qualifying on Thursday afternoon.
- The young driver quickly moved into the top-five, and reported that his Tundra had a slight loose handling condition.
- He ultimately finished the first stage in fifth.
- Following the first stage, crew chief Rudy Fugle kept the No. 51 iBUYPOWER machine on the track to maintain track position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Smith began the second stage in third and remained there for most of the 55-lap segment.
- He reported that the No. 51 Tundra was perfect and he finished the stage in third.
- Following the second stage, Fugle brought him to pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and a very slight air pressure adjustment.
Stage Three Recap:
- In the final 90-lap stage, Smith started sixth and fell back slightly, reporting that his Tundra had transitioned to a snug handling condition, meaning that it did not want to turn well in the corners.
- Nevertheless, the 17-year-old, Georgia-native, worked his way back to the front of the field, avoiding the chaos of seven caution flags that marred the final stage.
- In the closing laps, Smith used several restarts to try and work around the No. 24 machine in the lead, then despite significant contact from the No. 45 in an attempt to pass, easily held him off and earned his first runner-up finish in the Gander Trucks Series.
- In three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts, Smith has finished eighth, fourth and second with an average finish of 4.7. He is scheduled to return to a Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra in November at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz.
What would it have taken to get the win?
“He (Brett Moffitt) was just better all day. We fought back early in the race. We got up to the 45 (Ross Chastain) and Brett (Moffitt). We needed just a little bit more to sit where he is right now. I can’t thank Rudy (Fugle, crew chief), I can’t thank KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports), iBUYPOWER, Toyota enough for this incredible opportunity. We’ve definitely made the most of it.”
UNOH 200 Recap:
- Brett Moffitt won the race with Chandler Smith, Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen and Grant Enfinger rounding out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured 12 cautions for 73 laps and nine lead changes among three drivers.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished 23rd
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 46 Toyota Tundra, finished 12th
Gander Trucks Owner Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the 17th race of the season ranked third in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Owner’s Playoff Standings. The No. 51 has earned six wins, 10 top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes in 2019.
Alex Tagliani will pilot the No. 51 Tundra next week at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, on Sunday, Aug. 25. Live coverage of the event begins at 2:30 p.m. EST on FS1.