- Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite team head to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the Round of 8 looking to punch their ticket to the Championship 4 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway. The 20-year-old driver enters Saturday’s race second on the Camping World Truck Series playoff grid, 30 points above the cutoff line for advancing to Phoenix, where he is the defending race winner. If Ty Majeski or a driver not in the playoffs were to win Saturday, Smith would clinch his spot in the championship round by totaling 26 points Saturday. If there is a new winner from the playoff grid, he would clinch his spot in the finals by earning 29 points.
- For Smith, it will be his first start in any series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he has posted an average finish of 5.17 across his six starts on mile-and-a-half tracks this season, including a victory at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. He is pulling double duty this weekend, piloting the No. 26 GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, which is the backend of Saturday’s double header. With running the Xfinity Series event, Smith will get some extra track time with that series’ practice and qualifying taking place Friday night after Truck Series practice and qualifying.
- The Georgia driver has recorded an average finish of 11.5 across the first two races of the Round of 8, falling behind in the Final Stage of both events after gaining valuable stage points. At Bristol, he won the opening two stages before ending the day with a ninth-place result. At Talladega, he finished fourth in the opening stanza, first in Stage Two and then crossed the stripe in the 14th position. Smith punched his ticket to the Round of 8 with a win at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Smith dominated the middle race of the Round of 10, leading 176 of the final 177 laps, picked up the Stage 2 win and the victory and added six playoff points that have carried over to the Round of 8. The victory was Smith’s third of 2022 and the fifth of his career.
- The Toyota Racing Development product has produced three wins in 2022: the second race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the regular season finale at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and in the Round of 8 at Richmond. Across 21 Truck Series starts this season Smith has recorded eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. He ranks first among Truck Series regulars in laps led (440), average running position (8.853), laps completed (2898) and is second in average finish (9.0) and fastest laps run (203), and third in driver rating (102.1) and quality passes (678).
- Smith made the playoffs last year in his first full-time campaign as the 10th seed. He advanced to the Round of 8 with a must-win victory at Bristol in the final race in the Round of 10. He found himself in another must-win situation in the final race in the Round of 8 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and saw his playoff run end when he finished fourth. As a consolation prize, he won the pole and swept all three stages in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway.
- Smith earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September of 2021. Across 59 career Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development driver had recorded five wins, one pole, 746 laps led, 22 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8.
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will once again call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team in 2022. Stockman’s drivers have produced nine victories at KBM since he joined the organization in 2020, including five with Smith behind the wheel. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s drivers have produced one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 14.0 across three Truck Series starts at Homestead-Miami. In the series most recent visit to the Florida track, he guided KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch to a dominant victory leading 82 of 134 laps in June of 2020.
- Safelite, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services, returned to KBM for a fifth season and will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s Tundra TRD Pro Tundra for 16 races this year, including Saturday’s race at Homestead.
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
This will be your first start in any series at Homestead-Miami. How have you prepared for this race?
“I’ve watched a good bit of film of the 2019 race and ran a lot of laps on the TRD simulator. With where we are at in the point standings we don’t want to go there and put ourselves in a bad spot. We just need go out Saturday and execute and race the racetrack and bring home a solid finish with our Safelite Tundra TRD Pro.”
You are also running the Xfinity Series race this weekend. Despite being a limited practice on Friday, do you feel like the extra seat time help you?
“With having never been to Homestead I feel like any track time will help even though it seems like the Xfinity car and the Truck race so much different there.”
With being 30 points above the cutoff line for advancing to Phoenix how will you approach Saturday’s race?
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
- Across 59 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded five wins, 746 laps led, 22 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8.
- Earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory.
- Has posted an average finish of 29.5 across two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2022, with a best result of 22nd coming at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway.
- Has collected 10 wins, 10 poles, 1894 laps led, 23 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.2 across 35 career ARCA Menards Series starts.
Chandler Smith’s No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro:
KBM-75: The No. 18 Safelite team will unload KBM-75 for Saturday’s Truck Series race at Homestead. Smith led 49 of 60 laps with this Tundra TRD Pro at Pocono Raceway in July en route to his second victory of 2022. Most recently, KBM-75 competed in the playoff race at Kansas Speedway, where Smith brought home a sixth-place finish.
KBM-75 Performance Profile:
|Starts||Wins||Average Start||Average Finish||Laps Led|
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected five wins, one pole, 416 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.9 across 29 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Owner-driver Kyle Busch has three victories at Homestead-Miami, winning in the series most recent visit in 2020 as well as in 2010 and 2013. Darrell Wallace Jr. (2014) and William Byron (2016) each have one at the Florida track.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (98) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway earlier this year, Corey Heim became the 18th 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 26 career victories.