Talented Teenager Comes from 25th Starting Position to Earn First Gander Trucks Top Five
Date: June 22, 2019
Event: CarShield 200 presented by CK Power (Race 11 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; 35 laps/35 laps/90 laps
Start/Finish: 25th/4th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Winner: Ross Chastain of Niece Motorsports (Chevrolet)
After qualifying was washed out on Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway, Chandler Smith was left with the 25th-starting position based on the Owner’s points position of the No. 46 team, which runs a limited schedule. Smith would make his way into the top 10 for the majority of his second career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start and finished in the fourth spot, four spots better than his debut a week ago at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started the 160-lap event from the 25th spot after Saturday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to rain and the field was set based on Gander Trucks owner’s points. The talented teenager had also competed in Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series race at the 1.25-mile oval, which ended about 20 minutes before driver introductions started for the Gander Trucks race.
- By the time the first caution of the race occurred on lap four he had moved up four spots. On lap 10, the 16-year-old driver was scored in the 19th position and had moved up to the 14th spot when Stage One came to a completion on 35.
- Smith reported that the iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra had “fired off snug and then balanced out.”.
Stage Two Recap:
- Veteran crew chief Marcus Richmond called for a right-side tires and fuel stop with a trackbar adjustment in an effort to try to improve track position for his young driver.
- The move worked, as the No. 46 Toyota was scored in the seventh position when Stage Two went green on lap 43. The Georgia native fell back to the 10th position on lap 57, as he tried to learn as much as he could in just his second career Truck Series start.
- Around lap 65, Smith appeared to have found something, as he began turning lap times as fast as the top trucks. On the final lap of Stage Two he was able to move up one position to ninth.
- He reported that he was “aero tight in traffic,” before hitting pit road between stages and that he may have brushed the wall in the closing laps of the stage.
Final Stage Recap:
- Richmond ordered up four-tire and fuel stop with adjustments in an effort to improve the handling for his young driver. The iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra would be scored in the 13th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 77.
- When a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fourth time on lap79, he had fallen back one spot to the 14th position.
- On the lap-85 restart Smith surged two spots to 12th, three laps later he returned to the top 10 and on lap 89 he gained another two spots. On lap 91 he captured the seventh spot, where he would remain for the several laps as a long-green flag run had ensued.
- With 55 laps remaining he maneuvered past Grant Enfinger for the sixth spot, but found over a two-second gap to teammate Todd Gilliland for the fifth position.
- Over the next 20 laps he reeled in Gilliland and completed the pass for fifth. With 30 laps remaining, teams began hitting pit road for their final scheduled stop. With 28 laps remaining, Richmond ordered up a two-tire stop with just enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.
- When pit stops cycled through with just under 20 laps remaining, the No. 46 Toyota was scored in the eighth position. On lap 147, his KBM teammate Harrison Burton got tangled up with Sheldon Creed and Smith was able to dive to the bottom of both of them and come out in the sixth position when the caution flew.
- Smith was scored sixth for the restart with seven laps remaining and gained one position by the time the field came back to the stripe the first time and moved into the top five with five laps remaining.
- With two laps remaining a battled ensued in front of him for the second position and his teammate Christian Eckes went spinning. Smith would cross the stripe in the fourth position, earning his first Gander Trucks top-five finish in just his second career start.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 46 iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How was your race tonight?
“Overall a really good learning night. Hats off to the whole 46 crew. They definitely needed this performance. Got a top-five with a fourth-place finish for them, so hats off to Marcus (Richmond, crew chief) and all of the guys back at the shop. Thank you to iBUYPOWER\828 Logistics for all they’ve done for me to make this possible. It was an adventure, but it definitely paid off. I’m wore out, but it paid off and looks good on my resume. Racing last week helped a lot, driving through the field twice. That paid off a lot tonight and it obviously showed driving through the field, especially later in that run tonight.”
CarShield 200 presented by CK Power Recap:
- Ross Chastain picked up his second Gander Trucks win of 2019. Smith’s KBM teammate Todd Gilliland finished 0.704 seconds behind Chastain in the runner-up spot. Stewart Friesen came home third, Smith was fourth and Brett Moffitt rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured five cautions for a total of 30 laps. There were 14 lead changes among eight drivers. KBM driver Christian Eckes led a race-high 57 laps.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished second
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 14th
- Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 16th
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 iBUYPOWER Tundra for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Aug 15. Bristol will also be the No. 46 team’s next event, with Raphael Lessard behind the wheel.