NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Overview:
Event: Clean Harbors 200, Race 20 of 23, 134 Laps – 30/30/74; 201 Miles
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 17, 2020 at 4 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Chatter about Chandler:
- Chandler Smith and the No. 51 JBL team head to Kansas Speedway for the first race in the Round of 8 in the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series owner’s playoffs. The No. 51 team enters Saturday’s race eighth on the owner’s playoff grid, 17 points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway. Smith wheel be behind the wheel again next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Brandon Jones will take the reigns at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 30 for the final race of the round. KBM has collected a series-record seven owner’s championships since its inception in 2010, including last season with the No. 51 team.
- While Saturday will mark Smith’s first Truck Series start at Kansas, he is scheduled to pilot the Venturini Motorsports No. 20 Camry in Friday night’s ARCA Menards Series race at the 1.5-mile track. Brandon Jones piloted the No. 51 Tundra for the doubleheader weekend at Kansas Speedway in July, finishing 14th in the Friday race and eighth in the Saturday event.
- After a tough start to his 2020 Gander Trucks season, which saw Smith finish 20th or worse in each of his first five starts, the Toyota Racing Development product has righted the ship and enters this weekend’s event with the momentum of top-five finishes in each of his last three starts. The 18-year-old racing prodigy finished third in his first-ever superspeedway race Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and fifth at both Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. Overall, in nine Truck Series starts this season, Smith has recorded 36 laps led, three top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 16.8.
- Smith’s average finish over the last four Truck Series events is 6.3 compared to an average finish of 25.2 across his first five starts this season.
- In addition to his limited Truck Series schedule this year, the Toyota Racing Development prodigy is also competing in his third season of part-time action in the ARCA Menards Series. He has made 12 starts in ARCA this season, winning twice: at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway in March and at Lucas Oil Raceway in Claremont, Ind. and finishing in the runner-up spot four times. Across 32 career ARCA Menards Series starts, Smith has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 4.9. His series-leading five wins helped propel the No. 20 Venturini Motorsports entry to an owner’s championship in 2019.
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman leads the No. 51 team in 2020. Stockman called the shots for Austin Dillon’s championship efforts in both the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (2011) and the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2013) and has experience as a crew chief in all three national series. In Dillon’s Gander Trucks championship season, the pair totaled two wins, five poles, 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The majority of Stockman’s experience atop the pit box has come in the Xfinity Series, where his drivers have recorded seven wins, 19 poles, 80 top-five and 148 top-10 finishes across 209 starts from 2012 to 2018. Stockman’s drivers have an average finish of 10.0 across four starts at Kansas in Truck Series action, with a best result of sixth coming with Dillon in the 2010 event.
- The No. 51 team leads the Truck Series with four wins, three with owner-driver Kyle Busch and one with Brandon Jones, and laps led (397), fastest laps run (248) and is tied with the No. 2 team for the series lead in stage wins (seven).
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
After a tough start to the season you’ve produced three consecutive top-five finishes. What has been the difference?
“The biggest thing for our No. 51 JBL team is consistency. We’ve had really strong Tundras, but we haven’t been able to put the runs together. In the last three races, we have definitely been putting the runs together, so it has been great for us.”
Do you feel like racing the ARCA race on Friday night will be beneficial?
“I definitely think the ARCA race Friday night will be a big game changer for me because I’ve never been to Kansas. Just feeling the track surface, the grip level and grooves will give me a general idea going into the truck race. It will be a big gain for me. Overall, I think it will be a pretty big game changer for us.”
Your teammates both raced the doubleheader weekend at Kansas earlier this year. Will you pick their brains before Saturday?
“I’m sure I’ll talk to Christian before the race. In the second Kansas race, he did really well. He was right up there with Matt (Crafton) at the very end. I will probably pick his brain a little bit to see if he has anything up his sleeve that he can let me know about.”
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
- Across 13 career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series starts has recorded 92 laps led, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.9.
- Produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors 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 4.9 across 32 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 No. 51 JBL Tundra:
KBM-67: The No. 51 JBL team will race KBM-67 for Saturday’s race at Kansas. Kyle Busch led 72 laps en route to victory with the Tundra in July at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in its maiden voyage. Smith led four laps with KBM-67 in its most recent outing at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in August but was relegated to a 38th-place finish after getting involved in an accident.
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected four wins, four poles, 613 laps led, 12 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.5 across 31 starts at Kansas.
- Noah Gragson led a race-high 128 laps and swept all three stages in the 2018 event at Kansas. Owner-driver Kyle Busch has collected two wins at Kansas (2014 & 2017) and William Byron earned his first career Gander Trucks victory there in 2016.
- KBM holds the NGROTS records for most career wins (80) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). 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).
- With 34 victories, the No. 51 is the winningest number in KBM’s Truck Series fleet.