Smith Earns Season-High Result for No. 91 Team in Las Vegas

Zane Smith returned to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) with an eighth-place finish on Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a season-high for the No. 91 team after three events. The 2022 champion drove the No. 91 Instacoat Premium Products (IPP) Chevrolet Silverado RST to the team’s first top-10 result of the season and elevated the No. 91 team to 16th in the NCTS owners’ point standings.

Smith laid down the seventh-fastest qualifying lap as the MHR quartet once again impressed with all four trucks starting in the top nine positions. From the drop of the green flag, Smith fought a tight-handling Chevrolet which suppressed his forward progress. The former champ managed to run inside the top-10 for most of the opening stage until the balance shifted even tighter and was scored 12th at the end of Stage 1 on lap 30.

Smith brought the IPP Chevrolet to pit road under the caution for four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustment to combat the handling woes. He restarted 11th on lap 36 despite being blocked in his pit stall during the stop. While the tight handling condition continued throughout the second stage, he managed to keep his Silverado RST in the top-10 and closed Stage 2 in eighth position on lap 60.

Crew chief Kevin Bellicourt and the No. 91 team threw another batch of adjustments at Smith’s balance during the pit stop under the second stage caution. Smith restarted 11th on lap 67 but found himself 17th after a chaotic restart. Despite the setback, Smith advanced forward during the first half of the final segment before a round of green flag pit stops. He made his final trip to pit road under green on lap 106 and executed a clean pit stop with the assistance of the IPP team. He cycled inside the top-10 as a result and ran smooth laps during the final fuel run. Smith took the checkered flag in eighth position as three of MHR’s entries finished inside the top eight.

Zane Smith Quote:

“We were just real tight all night. Kevin (Bellicourt) and all the guys on this Instacoat Chevrolet did a good job throughout the night of trying to improve the balance. We were just working the right front too hard to have enough pace to drive up there. We’ll try to see what we can improve on before Bristol and hopefully have a little better result there.”