Mid-Race Accident Relegates Chandler Smith to 38th-Place Finish

Chandler Smith started on the pole in Friday evening’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series event at Michigan International Speedway but after being involved in a mid-race accident ended the night with a disappointing 38th-place finish in his second start of the season.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Smith started from the pole based a random draw in tiers based on 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series owner’s points.
  • The rookie driver got shuffled quickly, and by the end of the first lap, he was in the sixth spot. When the first caution of the event occurred on Lap 5, he was in 10th.
  • Crew chief Danny Stockman would keep his young driver on the track during each of the three cautions in the opening stanza and Smith would finish 10th. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Between stages Smith reported the his JBL Tundra was “really solid on entry, but tight center and exit.” Stockman once again elected to remain on track and put the No. 51 at the front of the field again for the start of Stage Two.
  • While getting a push from behind at the start of the second segment, Smith’s Tundra broke loose and made slight contact with his KBM teammate Raphael Lessard who started on the inside lane. After nearly spinning Smith would collect his Toyota and fall in line a few laps later in the 12th position.
  • The Georgia native would cross the stripe 13th on Lap 40 to complete Stage Two. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Before hitting pit road, he reported that his JBL Tundra was “still tight center and exit.” Stockman summoned him to pit road for the first time between stages for four fresh tires and full load of fuel along with a wedge adjustment designed to improve the handling for his young driver, who was making just his second Truck Series starts on an intermediate track.
  • The adjustments would slow the stop and the Toyota Racing Development product would line up 20th for the Lap-42 restart. In the opening laps of the Final Stage, Smith reported that the adjustments had led to improved handling but needed more adjustments in the same direction.
  • After the fifth caution of the night occurred, Smith the No. 51 Toyota lined up 12th for the Lap-57 restart. Three laps later, he was trying to execute a pass on the bottom lane and then slide up to the top lane but made contact with another competitor. With significant damage to the right side of his Tundra, the 18-year-old driver was forced to the garage and relegated to a disappointing 38th-place finish.