Monday, Aug 08

Chandler Smith - No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro Camping World Trucks Nashville Preview

Chandler Smith - No. 18 Safelite Tundra TRD Pro Camping World Trucks Nashville Preview NK Photography Photo
Chandler Chatter:
 
  • Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite team head to Nashville Superspeedway for Friday’s Rackley Roofing 200 in the middle of a four-truck battle for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season championship. Smith held the top spot heading into last week’s race at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway but slid to the fourth position after registering a 13th-place finish. With three races remaining before the playoffs start, he finds himself 14 points behind his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek, with Zane Smith five points behind Nemechek in second and Ben Rhodes 10 points behind in third.
 
  • In last year’s Truck Series race at Nashville, Smith led a race-high 46 laps and won Stage Two before getting shuffled back on a restart late in the race and finishing 13th.
 
  • Through the first 13 events of the season Smith ranks first among Truck Series regulars in average finish (9.1), laps completed (1735) and quality passes (509), third in driver rating (100.3), and average running position (9.007) and fourth in average starting position (8.0) and fastest laps run (70). He has produced one win, 96 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his sophomore campaign. With 10 races remaining this season, Smith has already matched the number of top-five and top-10 finishes he had in 2021.
 
  • The Georgia driver earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory.
 
  • Across 51 career Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development driver had recorded three wins, one pole, 402 laps led, 20 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.4.
 
  • In addition to his Truck Series schedule in 2022, Smith is competing in a three-race schedule with Sam Hunt Racing (SHR). Smith finished 38th in his series debut at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after a mid-race wreck and finished 21st at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway. His final race with SHR will come Oct. 22 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
 
  • Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will once again call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team in 2022. Stockman’s drivers have produced six victories at KBM across his first two seasons, including two with Smith behind the wheel in 2021. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s drivers have collected one win, one pole, 104 laps led, two top-five and two top-10 finishes across five starts at Nashville. Dillon won the pole and the race in July of 2011.
 
  • Safelite, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services, returns to KBM for a fifth season and will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s Tundra TRD Pro Tundra for 16 races this year, including Friday’s race at Nashville. Charge Me will serve as an associate sponsor on the bedtop of Smith’s No. 18 Tundra TRD Pro this weekend. Charge Me was founded on the principle that the electric vehicle (EV) revolution will require robust infrastructure support at all levels.
 
 
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
 
You led a bunch of laps and won a stage at Nashville last year. What do you have to do this year to have a better finish in the end?
“Last year at Nashville we were really strong and had a lot of speed but with that being said I wasn’t really happy with my Safelite Tundra. We were fighting a little bit of tight on exit and once I got back in dirty air with Nashville being a concrete track and being a one to two groove track it reminded me of Dover with dirty air and how tight it makes you. Once we got back in dirty air we were just as tight as I was up front in clean air, and I wasn’t able to go anywhere. Thinking about that, going back we want to be able to have maneuverability and in the back of my mind and Stockman’s mind (Danny, crew chief) we have to think about we need to do better if we get in dirty air. That’s the mentality we are going with and we’re going to win.”
 
Is there a track that you’ve raced at this season that is similar to Nashville that you can take notes from?
“Not really, it’s close to a mile-and-a-half in length, but as far as the approach with setup and mentality, it’s a short-track mentality from my perspective. With that being said, we’ve been really strong at the short tracks and setup wise that is what we’re going with is kind of a short-track package to an extent with little things here and there to make up for how big the track is. I’m really confident in the speed we’ve had at short tracks and mile-and-a-halves, so going to a track that is a little smaller and where we have good experience at in the past, I’m really confident.”
 
Does it give you extra motivation to have an extra $50,000 on the line with the Triple Truck Challenge?
“That would help a lot, especially with the diaper bill that is going to start coming along here in the next few months. Bigger picture for us is the regular season championship. That’s what we are all eyes on and that’s what we are trying to get.”
 
 
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
 
  • Across 51 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded three wins, 402 laps led, 20 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.4.
  • Earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory.
  • Has posted an average finish of 29.5 across two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2022, with a best result of 22nd coming at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway.
  • Has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1783 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.4 across 34 career ARCA Menards Series starts. 
 
Chandler Smith's No. 18 Safelite Tundra:
 
KBM-68: The No. 18 Safelite team will unload KBM-68 for Friday’s race at the Nashville. In its lone start this season, Smith brought home an eighth-place finish with this Tundra TRD Pro at Texas Motor Speedway in May. John Hunter Nemechek’s third-place result at Bristol last year has been KBM-68’s best result across six career starts. 
 
KBM Notes of Interest:
 
  • KBM drivers have collected two wins, two poles, 319 laps led, two top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.0 across eight starts at Nashville.
  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch picked up the organization’s first ever victory at the 1.33-mile oval in 2010 and won again in 2011.
  • KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (95) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, Corey Heim became the 18th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner's Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
  • The No. 18, the number which was on the first Tundra that went to victory lane for KBM in 2010, has 24 career victories.

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