Chandler Smith started 31st in Saturday’s O’Reilly Parts 150 after struggling to stay on course during Friday’s qualifying session in wet conditions. The 20-year-old driver methodically maneuvered his way through the field throughout the 67-lap event on the 13-turn road course making his way into the top 10 for the first time with 20 laps remaining.
The Safelite driver would come up just short of earning top-five finishes in all three road course races this season, crossing the stripe in the sixth position.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started Saturday’s event from the 31st position after posting the 15th fastest time in qualifying round 1A Friday.
- By the time the first caution flew on lap 8, Smith had picked up 10 spots. He reported that his Safelite Tundra TRD Pro was “little tight on throttle,” during the caution laps.
- He continued to report that his No. 18 Toyota was “too tight” throughout the stage but would continue to maneuver his way forward slowly but surely. When the opening stanza came to completion at lap 20, he was in the 16th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- During the controlled caution, the Safelite Tundra TRD Pro got four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a chassis adjustment. With scoring being frozen during the controlled stops he would line up 16th when Stage Two went green on lap 21.
- Instead of moving forward, the Georgia driver fell back in the opening laps of the stage, once again reporting that he was “so tight.”
- On lap 25 he was scored 19th before his truck finally came to life and he began to pick off positions again. 10 laps later he was up to 15th but was able to only gain one more spot over the final five laps of the stage and would be scored in 14th at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap:
- Before hitting pit road for the controlled caution, he communicated to veteran crew chief Danny Stockman that he was “three numbers too tight.” In addition to putting four fresh tires on and a full tank of fuel in the No. 18 Toyota, the crew would make a major wedge adjustment and repair damage to the nose before returning their driver to the track for the Final Stage.
- Smith lined up 14th when the field went back green on lap 14. He gained three positions on lap 44, moving just outside the top 10 and gained two more on lap 45, moving up to ninth.
- When the fifth caution of the day slowed the field on lap 51, the Toyota Racing Development product had advanced up to the eighth position.
- On the ensuing restart, Smith gained two more positions and was scored in sixth when the sixth caution of the event occurred on lap 55. He had moved up to fifth when the next caution occurred but on the ensuing restart would fall back to seventh.
- On the final lap he was able to move back up one position and ended the day with a hard fought sixth-place finish.
Chandler Smith, driver on the No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
How was your truck coming from the back to the front in today’s race?
“It was a challenge and that’s an understatement. Second time ever being here, first time in the trucks. We didn’t get a good qualifying position obviously, which put us behind the ball a little bit. We were struggling a little bit with the balance getting up through the field, but this place is really, really hard to pass in general. There’s a few places where it’s really heavy braking and everybody today was really good through those sections so you had to push that danger zone a little more. It was either going to reward you or it was going to bite you really, really bad. Figuring that out and then starting to capitalize on that really helped me a lot and also being precise where I chose to use the bumper and where I chose not to use the bumper was a big thing for me today. Really happy with my Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD PRO. Good overall picture day. Obviously wish we could have won the thing, but for the conditions and what we were fighting, can’t be upset with today’s finish.”
O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 Race Recap:
- Parker Kligerman earned his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win. Zane Smith, Carson Hocevar, Stewart Friesen, and Christian Eckes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were seven cautions for 15 laps and five lead changes among three drivers.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 26th.
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 28th.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
Smith moved up two positions into a tie for second in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks series regular season standings. With one event remaining in the regular season, Smith and his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek sit 58 points behind points leader Zane Smith.
Smith will be behind the wheel of the No. 18 Charge Me Tundra TRD Pro when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Saturday, July 23. Live coverage of the CRC Brakeleen 150 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 12:00 p.m. ET.