Date: Oct. 30, 2021
Event: United Rentals 200 (Race 21 of 22, Race 3 in the Round of 8)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (0.526-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; 50 laps/50 laps/104 laps
Start/Finish: 6th /4th (Running, completed 204 of 204 laps)
Winner: Zane Smith of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Chandler Smith’s bid for a spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 came up three spots short when he finished fourth at Martinsville Speedway Saturday. Smith entered the event 34 points below the cutoff line for advancing to Phoenix, making it nearly a must-win situation on Saturday.
Smith battled a tight-handling Safelite AutoGlass Tundra throughout the event but found himself battling inside the top five for the final 50 laps of the race that extended into NASCAR overtime. In the end, a fourth-place finish was all the 19-year-old driver could muster in his first career start at “The Paperclip” and he ended the Round of 8 50 points below the cutoff line for advancing to next week’s championship race at Phoenix.
The Toyota Racing product is still in a close battle with Carson Hocevar for the Truck Series Rookie of the Year title. Smith enters Phoenix three points ahead of Hocevar for the honor.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith lined up sixth for the 204-lap event based on NASCAR’s matrix system with drivers and teams in the playoffs making up the top nine positions.
- The 19-year-old driver communicated that the handling of his Safelite Tundra was “tight,” in the opening stage as he made his way into top five in the opening laps but slowly fell backwards.
- A one-truck spin slowed the field for the first time on lap 46 and brought the stanza to a close under caution with Smith in the 13th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Between stages veteran crew chief Danny Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a large wedge adjustment in an effort to improve the handling for his young driver.
- When Stage Two went green on lap 55, Smith elected to line up on the outside of the sixth row. Ten laps into the run he had settled into the 11th position.
- When the field was slowed for the third time on lap 80, the Safelite Tundra was scored in the 11th position. Knowing that track position would be the best fix for the handling of his Tundra, Stockman played the strategy card and summoned Smith to pit road. Before hitting pit road, Smith communicated that his truck was better, but still needed to be loosened up to be more competitive.
- The over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop and added a spring rubber in the right rear.The No. 18 Toyota lined up on the inside of the ninth row when the field went back green with five laps remaining in the stage.
- Smith would be scored 16th when Stage Two ended on lap 100.
Final Stage Recap:
- Having already pitted, Stockman elected to stay on track and improve track position. When the Final Stage went green on lap 110, the Safelite Tundra lined up on the outside of the fourth row.
- When the 10th caution of the event occurred on lap 157 Smith had made his way into the top five and would remain there for the remainder of the race.
- The talented teenager continued to communicate that he “lacked front turn” as he remained inside the top five but couldn’t advance into striking distance of the leaders.
- A two-truck incident with two laps remaining set up NASCAR overtime. Smith elected the inside of the fourth row for the ensuing restart. As the top three trucks tangle approach the start-finish line with one lap remaining, the caution came out just after they crossed the stripe ending the race under caution per the rule book. Smith would finish in the fourth position and end the Round of 8 50 points below the cutoff for advancing to the Championship 4.
United Rentals 200 Recap:
- Zane Smith picked up the third win of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career and earned a spot in the Championship 4. Austin Hill, Tanner Gray, Smith, and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were 14 cautions for 89 laps. There were 10 lead changes among four drivers.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 11th.
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 39th.
Camping World Trucks Driver Championship Standings:
Smith finished the Round of 8 50 points below the cutoff line for advancing the Championship 4. With the reseed of points, he currently sits in eighth and can advance as far as fifth based on the Phoenix results. He sits seven points ahead of Carson Hocevar for the Rookie of the Year title.
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Friday Nov. 6 at Phoenix Raceway. Live coverage of the event will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 8 p.m. ET.