Date: Oct. 17, 2020
Event: Clean Harbors 200 (Race 20 of 23, Race 1 of 3 in the Round of 8)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/79 laps
Start/Finish: 1st/5th (Running, completed 139 of 139 laps)
Winner: Brett Moffitt of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Chandler Smith rallied back to finish fifth and earn his fourth consecutive top-five finish in Saturday’s Clean Harbors 200 at Kansas Speedway. Smith started from the pole, finished Stage One in second and Stage Two third before a miscue on pit road slowed the momentum of the No. 51 JBL team.
The over-the-wall crew did not secure all the lug nuts on a four-tire stop before the Final Stage and crew chief Danny Stockman alertly called his young driver back to pit road to secure the loose lug nuts. Smith would restart the Final Stage from the inside of row nine but rallied back to the fourth position before making his final scheduled pit stop under green-flag conditions with just under 30 laps remaining.
Another slow stop left him ninth when stops cycled through with 20 laps remaining. Smith was scored in the seventh position when the top two-trucks tangled, and Zane Smith spun bringing out the final caution of the race. The JBL Tundra lined up on the bottom of the third row for NACAR overtime and after a strong restart moved up to third but battled a loose-handling Toyota in the closing laps and would cross the stripe fifth.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started from the pole after a performance matrix based off his finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the ranking of the fastest lap he turned from the previous race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
- Making his first Gander Trucks start at Kansas, the young driver quickly got caught three-wide in the middle on the start and fell back to the fourth position on Lap 1.
- With a fast JBL Tundra, he quickly rallied back and took over the runner-up position on Lap 3 and remainder there as the opening stage went wire-to-wire caution free.
Stage Two Recap:
- Smith hit pit road for a four-tire and fuel stop between stages and after a slow stop lined up on the top of the fourth row when Stage Two went green on Lap 37.
- After a quick caution, the talented teenager lined up on the bottom of the fourth row for a restart on Lap 45. With 10 laps remaining in the segment he was sixth but gained three positions in the closing laps and finished Stage Two third.
Final Stage Recap:
- He reported that the JBL Tundra was “a little snug” before hitting pit road for four fresh tires and fuel between stages. Smith would have to restart near the tail of the field after having to come back down pit road to tighten the lug nuts before the field went back green on Lap 67.
- Posting times faster than the lead truck, Smith began slicing his way back through the field. He made his way back inside the top 10 on Lap 73 and 20 laps later had rallied to the fourth position.
- With just over 30 laps remaining the top-five trucks began making their way to pit road for their final scheduled stops. Stockman summoned his young driver to the attention of the over-the-wall crew on Lap 105.
- After a slow four-tire and fuel stop, the Georgia native was scored in the seventh position when stops cycled through with 15 laps remaining.
- He remained seventh with the fourth and final caution with three laps remaining set up NASCAR overtime.
- Smith restarted on the bottom of the third row and after a strong restart momentarily made his way up to third but battled a loose-handling Tundra over the final two laps and would cross the stripe in the fifth position.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 JBL Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How did the final overtime play out for you?
“Overall, we had a really good No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra. I got shuffled back there after we didn’t get the left-front tight enough and had to come from the rear all the way back to the front and got that caution at the very end that we needed. We ended up freeing up too much there at the very end of the race so that last restart obviously, we fired off really good, but I was too free to do anything with them, so I fell back two positions. Overall, it was a really solid day for the team and for the guys. Still making a run for the owner’s championship.”
Four straight top-five for you, Chandler. Did running the ARCA race help you today?
“Yeah, the ARCA race definitely helped, just having the feel of the surface of the track, and the grip level of it. Overall, the No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra was really, really good today. We were the truck to beat, and I felt like everybody kind of knew that. There were just way too many hiccups on pit road. At the end, we freed it up too much. It just cooled down way, way too much and we didn’t adjust enough towards it. So, there under that last caution, I felt like if we were a little snugger, we would have at least finished second or so. The track freed up too much on us, but overall, we got a top-five. We are being consistent. Bigger picture.”
Clean Harbors 200 Recap:
- Brett Moffitt picked up his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series of 2020 finishing 0.111 seconds ahead of his GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed. Austin Hill finished third, while Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured four cautions for a total of 24 laps. There were 13 lead changes among nine drivers, including Smith, who led one lap.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished sixth
- Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 33rd
Gander Trucks Owner’s Championship Standings:
After one race in the Round of 8 in the owner’s playoffs, the No. 51 team moved up to positions to sixth. The reigning owner’s champions are 13 points behind the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 with two races remaining in this round.
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 JBL Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action on Saturday Oct. 25 at in Texas Motor Speedway in Ft Worth. Live coverage of the SpeedyCash.com 400 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at noon ET.