After qualifying 12th for Friday’s Championship race at Phoenix Raceway, Chandler Smith ran inside the top five for the majority of the event and when a late caution occurred found himself restarting on the outside of the front row for NASCAR overtime with a chance to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Smith made a move to the inside of Zane Smith for the lead coming to the white flag but got loose underneath him and stalled his momentum. Not only was the other Smith able to get away but Ben Rhodes also got by leaving the Safelite Tundra in the third position, and third in the championship standings.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith earned the 12th starting position in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. By the time the first caution of the race occurred on lap 9 he advanced into the top 10. He reported that he was “pretty damn good,” and lined up on the bottom of the sixth row for the ensuing restart.
- He would remain in the top 10 as the remainder of the stage was run under green flag conditions, crossing the stripe eighth.
Stage Two Recap:
- Before hitting pit road, Smith reported that his Safelite Tundra was “lacking lateral grip.” Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a trackbar adjustment between stages. A blistering-fast stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed the 20-year-old driver to exit pit road fourth.
- Smith elected to start from the top of row two when Stage Two went green on lap 53. As the field settled into position a few laps into the stanza, the No. 18 Toyota was scored in the third position.
- In the middle of Stage Two Smith was told by spotter Chris Lambert that he was “the quickest truck on the track,” but he had been distanced by the top two.
- Stage Two came to completion on lap 90 with Smith in the third position.
Final Stage Recap:
- Before hitting pit road, Smith communicated to Stockman that his Tundra “lacked overall right-rear grip.” Another speedy four-tire and fuel stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed him to exit pit road behind his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek.
- The Safelite Tundra lined up on the bottom of the front row when the Final Stage went green on lap 98. He secured the lead just before the fourth caution of the night occurred on lap 100.
- He once again elected to start on the bottom of the front row. Nemechek was able to work his way past him on the restart before another caution occurred one lap later.
- On the ensuing restart Zane Smith was able to work his way past both of the KBM Tundras, with Chandler Smith falling in line second.
- With 20 laps remaining the Safelite Tundra was just under a second behind the No. 38 truck. With 15 laps remaining, a one-truck accident slowed the field for the sixth time and setup varying strategy plays by the crew chiefs.
- Stockman elected for four fresh tires, while two teams stayed out and five teams elected to only take two tires. Smith lined up on the bottom of row five for the restart with 10 laps remaining.
- Five laps later he was scored in the fifth spot when the final caution of the event occurred setting up NASCAR overtime.
- The leader Ben Rhodes elected the inside lane and Zane Smith in second also lined up on the bottom lane, leaving the Safelite Tundra the outside of the front row. Chandler Smith made a move to the inside of Zane Smith for the lead coming to the white flag but got loose underneath him and stalled his momentum. Not only was the other Smith able to get away but Ben Rhodes also got by leaving the Safelite Tundra in the third position, and third in the championship standings.
What are your thoughts after finishing third tonight?
“It just wasn’t meant to be. We gave it our best shot. I got into (turn) three, and it wasn’t met to be. It is as simple as that. I can’t thank everybody enough at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports), Safelite, all of the partners that helped along the way this year. TRD, Jack Irving (TRD) – everything those guys have done for me for the past six-plus years. I really wanted to get that one, but it wasn’t met to be. I’ve said all week if it was met to be, it would be and it wasn’t. It’s all good.”
Lucas Oil 150 Race Recap:
- Zane Smith earned the championship with his fourth win of 2022 and his seventh NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career win. Ben Rhodes, Smith, Nemechek and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were seven cautions for 41 laps and 15 lead changes among seven drivers, including Smith who led twice for nine laps.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished fourth
- Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished seventh
Camping World Trucks Playoff Standings:
Smith finished the championship standings in the third position behind Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes.