NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Mr. Smith Goes Home:
- Georgia native Chandler Smith will make his first career start on the 1.54-mile quad-oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 200. Smith, who grew up 90 miles north of the speedway in Jasper, Ga., made a name for himself racing Bandoleros on the flat quarter-mile track located on the frontstretch known as the “Thunder Ring.” Smith earned 21 career Bandits Division victories across 40 starts in Atlanta’s Thursday Thunder Series and won three consecutive Bandits Division championships from 2012-2014. In 2014, the racing prodigy won eight consecutive races in the Bandits Division, tying the record set by Joey Logano in 2000. The record has since been broken.
- After three events on the Camping World Truck Series schedule, Smith sits fifth in the championship standings, 60 tallies behind his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate John Hunter Nemechek. His 22 laps led are third in the series and his driver rating of 92.1 ranks sixth. He earned a season-best ninth-place result in the season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 18-year-old driver leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 22 points over Carson Hocevar and has won the rookie of the race award in two of the three events this season.
- The Toyota Development Driver has finished inside the top five in eight of his 19 career Camping World Truck Series starts, including a career-best runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in 2019. Smith 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.
- The talented teenager recorded nine wins, 10 poles and an average finish of 5.3 across 33 ARCA Menards Series starts the last three seasons. He captured the pole in his series debut at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (Tenn.) in April of 2018 and set an ARCA Menards Series record by winning four consecutive poles to start his career. He earned his first victory at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in just his fourth series start in June of 2018. Despite running a part-time schedule, he led the series in laps led in both 2018 and 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’s XFINITY Series drivers totaled seven wins and 19 poles from 2012 to 2018 and after last season his Truck Series totals stand at eight wins and 13 poles. Stockman’s drivers have recorded two top-10 finishes in three Camping World Truck Series starts at Atlanta, with a best result of sixth with Dillon in 2011.
- Safelite AutoGlass – the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement, and recalibration services – will be the primary sponsor of Smith’s Tundra this weekend at Atlanta and for 15 races total this season. I.T. Consulting St Petersburg LLC, a total IT solutions company with a focus on network infrastructure, is serving as an associate partner on the bedtop of the No. 18 Toyota for Saturday’s 130-lap event.
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
After racing on the quarter-mile track, how cool is it to finally get to race on the big track?
“I’m really excited to get back to Atlanta. The last time I was there was when I was about 12 years old racing on the quarter mile. I’m excited to get out there with my Safelite Autoglass Toyota Tundra and compete for the win.”
What is your favorite memory of racing on the quarter-mile track?
“I don’t really have a favorite memory, but I would probably say when the Bandeloro Nationals were there. I ended up winning them. It’s probably one of my favorite memories there.”
Have you attended Atlanta as a fan? If so, what is your favorite memory?
“I’ve attended probably every single NASCAR race at Atlanta ever since I was 4 years old except for last year due to COVID. I’m really excited to be racing on it. It’s going to be a big deal to me. I was telling my crew chief Danny Stockman about how excited I am to go to Atlanta. It’s going to be a big deal for us, but I don’t really have any favorite memories there.”
The surface at Atlanta is worn and tire wear is high. How will your background in super late models help this weekend?
“I think my background in super late model racing is going to help with the old, worn out places I’ve been to. Not only that, wore out, low grip places really fit my driving style. Not only because it is my home track that I’ve had it circled, but because of the track itself.”
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
- Across 19 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 12.5.
- 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 Safelite Tundra:
KBM-067: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload chassis number KBM-067 for Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 200 at Atlanta. In its debut, Kyle Busch won last year’s July race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth with this Tundra. Smith piloted it three times in 2020 with a best result of fifth last October at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected two wins, two poles, 566 laps led, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8 across 23 starts at Atlanta. Owner-driver Kyle Busch led a race-high 92 laps en route to victory in the 2019 event, while Christopher Bell became to the first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race after leading 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole in 2017.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (81) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014. With his victory at Las Vegas, 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.