Chandler Smith Finishes Third in First Career Superspeedway Race

Making the first superspeedway start of his career, 18-year-old Chandler Smith brought the iBUYPOWER Tundra home in the third position at Talladega Saturday. Smith’s third consecutive top-five finish in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series catapulted the team from ninth to fourth in the owner’s point standings and earned the No. 51 team a spot in the Round of 8.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Smith started from the fifth position after a performance matrix based off his finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the ranking of the fastest lap he turned from the previous race at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
  • The iBUYPOWER Tundra was running in the sixth spot when the first big accident of the day occurred in front of him on Lap 12.
  • The Toyota Racing Development product took the ensuing restart from the second position on Lap 18 but got shuffled back to the sixth spot when Stage One came to completion on Lap 20.
  • With the sixth-place result in the opening stanza, the No. 51 team earned five stage points. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Smith hit pit road for a fuel-only stop between stages and would line up fifth when Stage Two went green on Lap 25.
  • He advanced two spots, up to third, on the next lap and remained there when a caution with two laps remaining brought the stage to completion under yellow. The No. 51 team earned eight valuable stage points with the third-place result. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • With 13 points scored over the first two stages, the No. 51 team switched from offense to defense for the start of the Final Stage. Along with their KBM teammates, the No. 51 team pitted the second lap after pit road opened to avoid experiencing any chaos on pit road. They also topped off with fuel with one lap before the field went green in the Final Stage.
  • The iBUYPOWER Tundra lined up 24th for the restart on Lap 44.
  • Smith was scored in the 14th position when teams had made it to the pit window and began making their final scheduled stops on Lap 60. On Lap 66, veteran crew chief Danny Stockman summoned his young driver to pit road for a fuel-only stop.
  • Exiting pit road, he made slight contact with Grant Enfinger, but the damage to the right front fender was minimal.
  • The Georgia native was scored 13th on Lap 72, when he switched back to offense and began to maneuver his Toyota forward. With 10 laps to go he had made it up to the sixth position.
  • Smith had gained two more positions when a debris caution occurred with six laps remaining.
  • The No. 51 Toyota lined up fourth when the field took the green flag with two laps remaining.
  • The talented teenager was tucked in behind Trevor Bayne in the middle lane with his teammate Raphael Lessard and Ben Rhodes nose to tail next to them on the inside lane as the field went down the backstretch on the final lap.
  • A multi-truck wreck broke out around the 10th position and the caution flew as the field was going through Turn 4. After NASCAR reviewed the cameras, Smith was credited with a third-place result.
  • Smith’s third consecutive top-five finish helped catapult the No. 51 team from the ninth position prior to the start of the final race of the Round of 10 all the way up to the fourth position.