Chandler Smith, who finished inside the top 10 in his first four NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors events of his career, was relegated to a disappointing 22nd-place finish in Saturday's rain shortened Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Smith got put in a hole in the early stages of two when contact with another truck caused some minor cosmetic damage to his JBL Tundra.
Not knowing that bad weather would move into the area quicker than forecasted, veteran crew chief Danny Stockman called Smith to pit road under caution on Lap 43 to have the crew assess and make repairs to the damage. Smith would be scored in the 34th position for the ensuing restart and over the final 29 laps of Stage Two would only be able to make his way up to 22nd as competitors found it hard to pass on the one-groove racetrack.
Shortly after the completion of Stage Two, lightning in the area forced NASCAR to bring the trucks to pit road, and then after heavy rains began to fall, they deemed the race official.
Stage One Recap:
- Smith started from the 10th spot via a random draw in tiers based on 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series owner's points. After the green flag dropped Smith quickly maneuvered his way up to the sixth position before the first caution of the night occurred on Lap 2.
- The 18-year-old driver fell back to seventh on the ensuing restart as he communicated to Stockman that the JBL Tundra was "sliding the front tires through the corners."
- After the third caution of the night occurred on Lap 22, Stockman summoned his young driver to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. The move was made in an effort to only have to take two tires at the completion of Stage One and gain track position.
- Smith would complete Stage One in the 25th spot.
Stage Two Recap:
- Before hitting pit road, the Toyota Racing Development driver would communicate that the air pressure adjustment made on the first stop helped the handling of his JBL Tundra, but that the left-front tire was still sliding in the corners.
- Stockman ordered up fresh left side tires, with an air pressure adjustment, and a full tank of fuel. With most competitors hitting pit road for the first time and having to take four tires, Smith jumped up to 11th when Stage Two went green on Lap 40.
- Shortly after Stage Two went green, the 52 truck made an attempt to clear Smith's No. 51 Tundra and clipped the left front fender. To avoid a large accident, Smith had to slow his Toyota down and when he lost momentum fell back to the 18th position.
- When the next caution occurred, Stockman summoned the JBL Tundra to pit road to examine and subsequently make minor repairs to the left-front fender. Smith returned to the track scored in the 34th position for the Lap 46-restart.
- Stockman and spotter Andy Houston coached their young driver to be patient and methodically make his way back through the field because there was a lot of racing left to do.
- Smith obliged and seven laps later had made his way up to the 24th position. With passes tough to complete on a one-groove track and the young driver trying to exhibit patience, he was only able to make his way back up to the 22nd position when Stage Two came to completion on Lap 70.
- Shortly after the field crossed the stripe, lightning was visible in the area and NASCAR summoned the trucks to pit road. Heavy rains began to fall and NASCAR deemed the race official with 79 laps remaining in the event.