Date: Sept. 24, 2021
Event: Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 (Race 19 of 22, Race 1 in the Round of 8)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5–mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 2nd /35th (Accident, completed 70 of 134 laps)
Winner: Christian Eckes of ThorSport Racing (Toyota)
Chandler Smith had a fast Safelite AutoGlass Tundra in the early part of Friday’s Victoria’s Voice 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, finishing third in the opening stage and 10th in Stage Two, but early in the Final Stage couldn’t avoid a truck that had spun in front of him. After caroming off that truck and sliding down the track, his Tundra was struck by another competitor, leaving the Safelite Tundra mangled and unable to continue.
After being relegated to a 35th-place finish, Smith leaves the first race in the Round of 8 eighth on the playoff grid. The 19-year-old driver is 24 points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 with two races remaining in the round.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith lined up second for the 134-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 “a little tight,” but he maintained a position inside the top five for the first 30 laps of the race.
- When the field came to the stripe to end Stage One on lap 30, the Safelite Tundra was in the third position and Smith earned eight stage points.
Stage Two Recap:
- Between stages the over-the-wall crew executed a four-tire and fuel stop. Due to Smith coming to a stop in an awkward direction, the stop was slower than normal and the No. 18 Tundra exited pit road in the ninth position.
- Smith elected to start on the bottom of the fifth row when Stage Two went green on lap 36. He was running ninth when the next caution occurred and elected to line up on the top of the fourth row for the ensuing restsart.
- With a few drivers with fresher tires lined up just behind him, he would fall from eighth to 10th in the closing laps of Stage Two and earned one stage point.
Final Stage Recap:
- Smith communicated that his Tundra “needs more security,” before hitting pit road for four-tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment between stages.
- With several teams electing to pit when the caution came out just before the stage break, the Safelite Tundra lined up on the top of the 10th row when the Final Stage went green on Lap 66.
- The Toyota Racing Development product began to drive his way back through the field and on Lap 70 was scored in the 10th position.
- Tyler Ankrum spun in front of Smith and Smith tried to maneuver to the top side of Ankrum and didn’t have enough room to get through. After making contact with Ankrum, Smith’s Tundra caromed down the track into the path of Sheldon Creed and then came to a stop near the inside wall.
- The damage was major and Smith ended the night in the garage with a disappointing 35th-place finish.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra for KBM
Are you okay and what happened?
“Yeah, I’m all good. Tyler (Ankrum) got loose up at the top. He got completely sideways. Some tracks like this I’ve got experience with, they come back down the race track and take a good portion of the field with them. My spotter told me to go low. I should have listened to him. It’s completely my fault. I went high. I went with my gut, and bit the bullet for it. It is what it is. It’s a heartbreaker. We had really good momentum. We had a really fast Safelite Toyota Tundra tonight. Got in front of all of the guys who had tires except for one, and we would have been set pretty good there. Disappointed in myself.”
Victoria’s Voice 200 Recap:
- Christian Eckes picked up the first win of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were 10 cautions for 39 laps. There were 14 lead changes among 11 drivers.
How Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Drew Dollar, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 24th.
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 33rd.
Camping World Trucks Driver Championship Standings:
After the first race in the Round of 8, Smith sits eighth on the playoff grid, 24 points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 with two 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. 2 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Live coverage of the event will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1 p.m. ET.