Chandler Smith – No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra Camping World Trucks COTA Preview

Mr. Smith Turns Left and Right:
  • Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head to Circuit of the Americas (COTA), a 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course in Austin, Texas for Saturday’s Toyota Tundra 250. It will be the first time that NASCAR has raced at the venue that opened in 2012 with a Formula 1 race and since has hosted IndyCar, the World Endurance Championship, V8 Supercars, and various sports car divisions. While he has not raced a truck at COTA, Smith has attended two sessions of the Skip Barber Racing School at the track in recent months.
  • Saturday will be Smith’s second career Camping World Truck Series start on a road course. In his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course event, the talented teenager recorded the third best average running position (8.315) of all the drivers in the field and was in line for a top-10 finish before getting spun from behind while running seventh in the second of three attempts at NASCAR overtime. After pitting for four fresh tires before the start of the final overtime period, the talented teenager would drive from 27th to 12th before the race ended under caution.
  • Making his first-ever start behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock, Smith picked up a victory May 15 in a 75-lap event at Tri-County Speedway in Granite Falls, N.C. The 18-year-old was racing for R&S Race Cars, owned by former KBM crew chief Marcus Richmond.
  • The Georgia native comes into Saturday’s race 13th in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. He currently sits 24 points behind Johnny Sauter for the 10th and final spot in the playoffs with seven races remaining in the regular season. Across eight starts this season, Smith has one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 18.9. He produced a season-best result of fourth at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in April. He sits second in Rookie of the Year standings, 19 points behind Carson Hocevar. Smith has earned the rookie of the race award four times this season. The Toyota Racing Development driver has nine top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes across 24 career Camping World Truck Series starts, including a career-best runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in 2019.
  • The talented teenager recorded nine wins, 10 poles and an average finish of 5.3 across 33 ARCA Menards Series starts the last three seasons. He captured the pole in his series debut at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (Tenn.) in April of 2018 and set an ARCA Menards Series record by winning four consecutive poles to start his career. He earned his first victory at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in just his fourth series start in June of 2018. Despite running a part-time schedule, he led the series in laps led in both 2018 and 2019.
  • Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team this season. Stockman led the No. 51 team to four wins in his first season atop the pit box at KBM in 2020. He came to the organization with experience as a crew chief in all three national series, including a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s Camping World Truck Series drivers have earned an average finish of 17.0 across two starts in road course action. On the Xfinity Series side, Stockman was atop the pit box in 2015 when Paul Menard was victorious at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
  • Saturday’s race will be the second race of the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply in the Camping World Truck Series. The bonus program kicked off at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and will conclude at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. An extra $50,000 is on the line for the winning driver in each of those three events. If Sheldon Creed, the winner at Darlington, can win the next two races, he will get a $500,000 bonus.
  • Smith General Contracting and Fairfield Residential, more than your average national property management company, will be associate partners on the bedtop of the No. 18 Toyota for Saturday’s 41-lap event.
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
You had a strong showing on the road course at Daytona. Are you looking forward to going back road course racing this weekend at COTA?
“For sure. It’s going to be an experience for all the drivers across the NASCAR platform except for the few that have raced sports cars there. I’m really excited about going to COTA. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”
You’ve done some driving schools at COTA. What did you think about the facility? How will the trucks race there?
“The facility is amazing first and foremost. They do a really good job at keeping it up to date. It’s a beautiful facility. The track has a lot of character to it. It’s really worn out. There are a few passing zones. It’s a driver’s track, so I’m looking forward to getting there with my Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra. I’m ready to rip.”
We’re in the middle of the regular season. Do you pay attention to where you are in points or do you just take it race-by-race?
“I’m always a big believer that everything happens for a reason. I feel like we are still going to have a good season. I don’t think we are looking too good on the points right now, but we are going to gather it up and get some good momentum starting at COTA.”
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
  • Across 24 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded 139 laps led, nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 14.5.
  • Posted an average finish of 7.7 across his final seven of 12 total Truck Series starts in 2020, including third-place finishes in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway and his first career superspeedway start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October.
  • Produced three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.2 across his first four career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in 2019. He led 55 laps and finished eighth in his Gander Trucks debut at Iowa Speedway last July and then posted top-five finishes in his final three starts, including a runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
  • Has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1761 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.2 across 33 career ARCA Menards Series starts. Set an ARCA Racing Series record by winning four consecutive poles to start his career and earned his first victory after leading a race-high 102 laps at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in his fourth series start.
Chandler Smith’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
KBM-049: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload chassis number KBM-049 for Saturday’s 41-lap event at COTA. The Tundra has been raced five times, all on road courses. Smith piloted the same Toyota earlier this year at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. The chassis best finish, a runner-up result, came with Noah Gragson behind the wheel at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ont. In 2017.
KBM Notes of Interest:
  • KBM drivers have collected one win, 95 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.2 across five starts at Darlington. Kasey Kahne led a race-high 95 laps en route to victory in the 2011 event.
  • KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (85) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Martin Truex Jr. became the 16th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
  • The No. 18, the number which was on the first Tundra that went to victory lane for KBM in 2010, has 21 career victories.