Date: April 17, 2021
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Format: Three Stages; 70 laps/70 laps/110 laps
Start/Finish: 23rd/4th (Running, completed 250 of 250 laps)
Winner: John Hunter Nemechek of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Chandler Smith was in contention for the win late in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway, putting the JBL Tundra out front for 24 laps, before giving way to teammate and race winner John Hunter Nemechek with 17 laps remaining.
A strategy call by veteran crew chief Danny Stockman helped his rookie driver get track position late in the race, setting up Smith to make a three-wide pass for the lead on a Lap-209 restart. But in the closing laps, three competitors with fresher tires would make their way around the No. 18 Toyota and the team would have to settle for a season-best fourth-place result.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started from the 23rd position based on NASCAR’s performance-matrix formula.
- The opening stage would run green to green-checkered caution free, with the No. 18 team picking up seven positions, to come home 16th.
Stage Two Recap:
- Between stages Stockman would order up a four-tire and fuel stop. Smith lined up on the inside of the sixth row when Stage Two went green on Lap 79.
- He was scored in the 12th position when the second caution of the day slowed the field on Lap 85. During the caution period, he reported that the front tires on his JBL Tundra were sliding through the center of both corners.
- When Stage Two came to completion at Lap 140, the Toyota Racing Development driver had worked his way up to the 10th position and earned one stage point.
Final Stage Recap:
- The over-the-wall crew put together a speedy four-tire and fuel stop between stages that allowed Smith to exit pit road sixth. He started the Final Stage from the inside of the fourth row on Lap 150.
- Smith would spend the first half of the final stanza at the back half of the top 10 but was posting lap times as fast as the top trucks. When a two-truck accident slowed the field on lap 167 with Smith in the 12th position, the top-11 trucks remained on the track, but Stockman summoned the JBL Tundra to pit road, knowing that his driver could produced a solid finish given track position.
- After getting four fresh tires, a wedge adjustment and a full tank of fuel, the Georgia native lined up on the outside of the 10th row for the ensuing restart.
- When the 10th caution of the event slowed the field on Lap 196, the majority of the top 10 hit pit road for their final set of Goodyear tires, leaving Smith on the inside of row two for the Lap-207 restart.
- Shortly after leader Matt Crafton crossed the start-finish line, Smith dove to his inside as they entered Turn One. Crafton washed up the track into his teammate Johnny Sauter allowing the JBL Tundra to clear the ThorSport Tundras as the field went down the backstretch.
- Smith had distanced himself by nearly a second on the field when the caution came out with 37 laps remaining.
- Smith elected the inside of the front row for the ensuing restart, which came with 29 laps remaining. Smith was able to fire off strong and maintained the lead until Nemechek worked his way around him with 17 circuits remaining.
- Smith faded a few more positions as his tires were used up but managed a season-best fourth-place result.
ToyotaCare 250 Recap:
- Nemechek dominated the race, leading a race-high 1114 laps en route to his second Camping World Trucks victory of 2021 and the eighth of his career. It was KBM’s fourth consecutive victory. KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch finished 0.307 seconds behind Nemechek in the runner-up position. Tyler Ankrum, Smith and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were nine lead changes among six different drivers. There were 11 cautions for 79 laps.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished first.
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished second.
Camping World Trucks Driver Championship Standings:
Smith and the No. 18 team gained three spots in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. They leave the sixth race on the Camping World Truck Series schedule in the 12th position, 141 tallies behind his KBM teammate Nemechek.
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Saturday, May 1 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Live coverage of the Wise Power 200 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 7:30 p.m. ET.