Chandler Smith ran inside the top 10 for the majority of the first half of Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, but early in the Final Stage got caught up in a 21-truck accident that caused significant damage to his Safelite Tundra.
The over-the-wall crew used multiple trips down pit road to make Smith’s Toyota drivable which allowed the No. 18 team to improve from 30th to 19th by the end of the race.
Smith heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 30 for the final race of the Round of 8 sixth in the point standings, 34 points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4.
Stage One Recap
- Smith lined up 10th for the 94-lap event based on NASCAR’s matrix system with drivers and teams in the playoffs making up the top 10 positions.
- The 19-year-old driver communicated that the handling of his Safelite Tundra was “good,” in the opening stage as he made his way into the top five with five laps remaining. Smith made a move to the outside lane in an effort to move forward but ended up getting shuffled back and crossed the stipe 13th on lap 20.
Stage Two Recap
- Between stages veteran crew chief Danny Stockman ordered up a fuel-only stop and Smith returned to the track in the seventh position when Stage Two went green on lap 25.
- Smith ran inside the top 10 for the entirety of the stage and would cross the stripe sixth on lap 40, earning five stage points.
Final Stage Recap
- Stockman summoned his young driver to pit road for four fresh tires and a full load of fuel between stages. One lap before going back to green-flag conditions, he brought Smith back to pit road to top off with fuel.
- The 19-year-old driver was scored in the 28th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 47. He had made his way up to the 21st position on lap 21. On lap 58 an accident happened in front of him. As he moved down the track to avoid getting caught up, he got clipped by another competitor causing significant damage to the right front fender and hood. The accident ended up having 21 trucks total involved.
- After the red-flag condition was lifted. A push truck helped Smith getting going and he brought his Toyota to the attention of his crew. The crew made repairs to the Safelite Tundra and returned him to the track before the damage vehicle repair clock expired.
- After a few laps, Smith was able to meet minimum speed, which got him off the damage clock, but with the damage to his Tundra he just ran around the back of the field, several laps down.
- As other wrecks happened to end the race, the No. 18 Safelite Tundra advanced from the 30th up to the 19th position when the race ended.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for KBM:
Talk about your race.
“We had a good Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and we were setting up the strategy to have ourselves a strong finish. The big wreck happened in front of me and I thought I had it missed and the 22 just came from out of nowhere and got us. I have to give credit to all my guys for not giving up and getting the truck repaired enough to continue on in the race and gain a bunch of spots. There’s no quit in this team and we’re going to go to Martinsville in a few weeks and give it everything we have.”
Talladega 250 Recap
- Tate Fogleman picked up the first win of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Tyler Hill, Todd Gilliland, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Truex rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were six cautions for 29 laps. There were 23 lead changes among 12 drivers.
How Chandler Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished fourth.
- Drew Dollar, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 35th.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
After the second race in the Round of 8, Smith sits sixth on the playoff grid, 34 points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 with one race remaining.
Smith will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action Saturday, Oct. 30 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Live coverage of the event will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1 p.m. ET.