Chandler Smith continued to make an impression in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in just his third series start. On Thursday morning, Smith was 11th-fastest in both Gander Trucks practices. Under the hot sun on Thursday afternoon, Smith earned the seventh starting spot in one round of single-truck qualifying on the legendary, high-banked half-mile.
The green flag for the UNOH 200 flew under the lights on Thursday evening, and Smith began the race in seventh. Within 26 laps, the talented teenager had moved into the top five, where he remained, only falling back momentarily following a four-tire pit stop. Smith aggressively pursued the lead in the closing laps through several caution periods and restarts, but came up just short to eventual winner Brett Moffitt.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith, in his first Gander Trucks qualifying attempt at Bristol Motor Speedway, earned the seventh starting spot in one round of single-truck qualifying on Thursday afternoon.
- The young driver quickly moved into the top-five, and reported that his Tundra had a slight loose handling condition.
- He ultimately finished the first stage in fifth.
- Following the first stage, crew chief Rudy Fugle kept the No. 51 iBUYPOWER machine on the track to maintain track position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Smith began the second stage in third and remained there for most of the 55-lap segment.
- He reported that the No. 51 Tundra was perfect and he finished the stage in third.
- Following the second stage, Fugle brought him to pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and a very slight air pressure adjustment.
Stage Three Recap:
- In the final 90-lap stage, Smith started sixth and fell back slightly, reporting that his Tundra had transitioned to a snug handling condition, meaning that it did not want to turn well in the corners.
- Nevertheless, the 17-year-old, Georgia-native, worked his way back to the front of the field, avoiding the chaos of seven caution flags that marred the final stage.
- In the closing laps, Smith used several restarts to try and work around the No. 24 machine in the lead, then despite significant contact from the No. 45 in an attempt to pass, easily held him off and earned his first runner-up finish in the Gander Trucks Series, crossing the stripe .743 seconds behind Moffitt.
- In three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts, Smith has finished eighth, fourth and second with an average finish of 4.7. He is scheduled to return to a Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra in November at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz.