NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Mr. Smith Goes Dirt Racing:
- Chandler Smith and the No. 18 JBL team tackle the dirt track at Bristol Motor Speedway in Saturday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt. For Smith, who cut his racing teeth on pavement, it will be his first start in any on a dirt track. Knowing that he didn’t have any dirt experience, the 18-year-old rookie headed to Cherokee (S.C.) Speedway earlier this month and turned over 400 laps in a Sportsman Late Model in order to prepare for this race.
- Smith will also get two 50-minute practice sessions on Friday and a 15-lap heat race on Saturday to dial in his JBL Tundra before Saturday night’s 150-lap race. While the lineups for the heat races will be determined by a random draw, the starting grid for the race will be determined by a formula that weighs finishing position plus positions gained during each heat race. Drivers finishing first in their heats earn 10 points, second place earns nine, third place earns eight and so forth. Additionally, drivers earn one passing point for each position gained in their heat; there are no points deductions or “negative points” for drivers who lose positions in their heats. One other noticeable difference you will see during Saturday’s race is that there will not be live pit stops. The only time that teams will be permitted to change tires, add fuel or work on their vehicles will be during the stage breaks. Scoring will be frozen during stage breaks, but those who elect not to pit will be scored ahead of those who elect to hit pit road during the break for the ensuing restart.
- While this will be the first dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Camping World Truck Series, the series competed at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio from 2013 to 2019. Kyle Busch Motorsports captured two victories at Eldora. Darrell Wallace Jr. led a race-high 97 laps en route to victory in the 2014 event and Christopher Bell led a race-high 106 laps in his 2015 triumph. The truckers will race a second dirt race July 9 at Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway.
- Smith is coming of a disappointing race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in Hampton, Ga. The Georgia native, who grew up racing on the quarter-mile track at AMS, suffered a parts failure in his first career NASCAR start at his home state track and after two trips to pit road to fix it under green-flag conditions was relegated to a 35th-place finish. The poor finish caused Smith to fall six spots to 11th in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. He also fell to second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, where he trails Carson Hocevar by one point. Smith has been awarded the rookie of the race award in two of the four events this season.
- The Toyota Development Driver has finished inside the top five in eight of his 20 career Camping World Truck Series starts, including a career-best runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in 2019.
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team this season. Stockman led the No. 51 team to four wins in his first season atop the pit box at KBM in 2020. He came to the organization with experience as a crew chief in all three national series, including a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and an XFINITY Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman has crew chiefed one NASCAR dirt race, a fifth-place finish with Ty Dillon in the 2014 race at Eldora.
- JBL, the authority in engineering superior sound, will be the primary sponsor for the No. 18 team this week at the Bristol dirt race and at the series next stop April 17 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Safelite AutoGlass – the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement, and recalibration services – returns to Smith’s Tundra May 1at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
Do you have any experience racing on dirt?
“I did a sportsman late model test down at Cherokee Speedway in South Carolina. I’m not sure what the specs are of the late model. I know that it is the same body style of the dirt super late model. It went really well. I loved it. I think it was a bad idea that I did it because I opened a new can of worms. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Have you and your crew chief talked about a strategy for Saturday’s race?
“We already talked about it. It’s going to be all about survival. Being there at the end, I feel like we will be in contention for the win.”
Do you have any expectations for this weekend?
“I just want to put together race. We’ve had some bad luck here the past few weeks I feel like. I’m looking forward to getting my No. 18 JBL Tundra back out front.”
Are you looking forward to having two practice sessions this week?
“Yes, I’ve missed practice. Once it gets taken away, it’s like everyone takes it for granted when it’s actually here and everybody wants it back. I am definitely looking forward to having practice.”
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
- Across 20 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded 115 laps led, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.6.
- Posted an average finish of 7.7 across his final seven of 12 total Truck Series starts in 2020, including third-place finishes in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway and his first career superspeedway start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October.
- Produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in 2019. He led 55 laps and finished eighth in his Gander Trucks debut at Iowa Speedway last July and then posted top-five finishes in his final three starts, including a runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
- Has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.2 across 33 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.
Chandler Smith’s No. 18 JBL Tundra:
KBM-25: The No. 18 JBL team will unload chassis number KBM-25 for Saturday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on dirt. In its most recent outing, Todd Gilliland won with this Tundra at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October of 2019. The truck has two other career wins, 2017 with Noah Gragson at Martinsville and 2016 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill. with Christopher Bell. In its lone dirt outing, Gilliland finished fifth with KBM-25 in 2019 at Eldora Speedway.
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected two wins, one pole, 302 laps led, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.8 across 20 starts on dirt tracks, all coming at Eldora Speedway. Darrell Wallace Jr. led a race-high 97 laps en route to victory in the 2014 event at Eldora and Christopher Bell led a race-high 106 laps in his 2015 triumph.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (82) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Las Vegas earlier this season, John Hunter Nemecheck became the 15th 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 21 career victories.