Accident in Final Stage Relegates Chandler Smith to 21st-Place Finish at Texas
Chandler Smith had a fast JBL Tundra in the opening stages of Sunday's SpeedyCash.com 400 before losing track position when he got blocked in his pit stall on his final regular scheduled stop of the event with just over 40 laps remaining.
While trying to battle his way back towards the front of the field, contact from another competitor sent the rear of the JBL Tundra crashing into the outside wall. The troubles compounded for the No. 51 team when a miscommunication on the subsequent pit stop saw Smith leave his pit stall before the over-the-wall crew had completed putting fresh tires on his Toyota.
Shortly after leaving pit road, the left-rear tire fell off the truck and Smith was forced to carefully make his way back to the attention of his crew with three tires on. The team would lose a lap in the process and despite getting the truck back to being able to maintain speed, were never able to get back on the lead lap and would end the day with a 21st-place finish.
With one race remaining in the Round of 8 of the owner's playoffs, the No. 51 team sits in the sixth position, 31 points behind the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 with one race remaining in the round.
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 Kansas Speedway.
- The JBL Tundra quickly advanced to the third position on the opening lap but had fallen back to the sixth position battling a tight-handling Toyota when a one-truck accident brought the opening stanza to a close under caution on Lap 33.
Stage Two Recap:
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop between stages. After exiting pit road ninth, Smith chose to line up on the bottom of the fifth row when Stage Two went green on Lap 40.
- Three laps later, he had maneuvered his way up to the sixth position when the field was slowed for the second time. For the ensuing restart he lined up on the bottom of the second row but got put in a bad aero position and would fall back to the sixth position.
- The JBL Tundra would finish the second stanza sixth.
Final Stage Recap:
- Smith reported that the JBL Tundra was "plowing tight" before hitting pit road for four fresh tires, a chassis adjustment and fuel between stages.
- The No. 51 Toyota lined up on the outside of the third row when the Final Stage went green on Lap 77. He was running in the fifth position when caution for fluid on the track put the team inside their pit window for making it to the end of the race.
- After getting four fresh tires and a full tank of fuel, Smith went to exit his stall but a truck that was further back in the scoring order was still getting service in front of him and he was unable to make his way around him. After having to get pushed back by the over-the-wall crew, Smith lost several spots. Knowing it would be close on making it to the end of the race on fuel, and already having to start near the tail of the lead-lap trucks, Stockman elected to top off with fuel again before the field went green.
- The talented teenager began making his way back through the field and was just outside the top 10 when he got hit in the quarter panel by another competitor and sent caroming rear first into the outside wall.
- The troubles compounded for the No. 51 team when a miscommunication on the subsequent pit stop saw Smith leave his pit stall before the over-the-wall crew had completed putting fresh tires on his Toyota.
- Shortly after leaving pit road, the left-rear tire fell off the truck and Smith was forced to carefully make his way back to the attention of his crew with three tires on. The team would lose a lap in the process and despite getting the truck back to being able to maintain speed, were never able to get back on the lead lap and would end the day with a 21st-place finish.
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