Moments before crossing the stripe to end Stage One in the fourth position Chandler Smith reported that he had lost fuel pressure. Smith would have to coast down pit road before it opened and would go one lap down while the over-the-wall crew got the Charge Me Tundra TRD Pro refired.
Smith would earn the “Lucky Dog” at the end of Stage Two and then began to charge back through the field in the Final Stage. He made his way back into the top five with 30 laps remaining and was running fourth when a one-truck spin with just under 10 laps remaining bunched the field back up.
The talented teenager would line up on the outside of the second row, behind his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek, for the ensuing restart eight laps remaining. Nemechek would spin his tires in the restart zone, causing the inside line to bottle up. After falling back to fifth, Smith would gain one position in the closing laps to bring home his fourth top-five finish of the season.
Stage One Recap
· Smith started Friday’s event from the sixth position after posting a lap of 30.884 seconds at 174.848 mph in the afternoon’s qualifying session.
· The Charge Me Tundra moved up to fifth on lap 10 and then on lap 15 would gain one more position.
· Smith crossed the line to finish the opening stanza fourth and then reported that his Toyota “feels like it is out of gas.” He was instructed to coast to pit road immediately. As the over-the-wall crew was trying to get his truck refired the field would go by under caution, putting the No. 18 team one lap down.
· After getting the truck refired, Smith would rejoin the field and pit with the rest of the trucks a lap down or more.
Stage Two Recap:
· When the field went back green on lap 36, the Georgia driver was scored in the 30th position at the tail of the field after being penalized for pitting too early.
· Five laps into Stage Two, the Charge Me Tundra had advanced up to 22nd and was in position for the “Lucky Dog.” Smith reported that the balance of his truck was “pretty good.”
· Stage Two would continue caution free until lap 60 but Smith would maintain his position as the first driver one lap down and earn the “free pass.” Before hitting pit road, he would report that his No. 18 Toyota was “way too twitch on the right rear.”
· Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a major wedge adjustment and returned his driver to the track for the Final Stage.
· When a one-truck accident slowed the field on lap 91, the 19-year-old driver had moved up to the 12th position. Under caution he reported that the adjustments had made his truck “too tight.”
· Having reached the window to make it to the end of the race on fuel, Stockman summoned his driver to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, a full load of Sunoco fuel and a minor wedge adjustment to combat what he had done on the prior stop.
· When the field went back green on lap 95, Smith elected to line up on the top of the fifth row. Just 10 laps later he had maneuvered the Charge Me Tundra up to the fourth position but was several seconds behind the leader.
· Another-one truck accident on lap 122 bunched the field and would give Smith a shot to contend for the win. When the field went back green with seven laps remaining, he elected to line up on the top of the second row behind Nemechek.
· As the field went through the restart zone, Zane Smith would slow his pace before launching, causing Nemechek to spin his tires in front of Smith. The bottom lane surged, and Smith would fall in line in the fifth position. He was able to regain one position in the closing laps to earn his fourth top-five finish of 2022 and the 18th of his career.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Charge Me TRD Pro for KBM:
How did you charge through the field?
“I’ve been waiting to use this catch phrase. We charged to the front like twice. Really proud to have ChargeMe on board the Tundra this race. I’m really excited for them to get their first top-five in the NASCAR series. We’ve got a bunch of them here tonight, so really proud to represent them guys. I appreciate all of my KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) crew. We’ve got a long few weeks coming up, and they’ve been busting their tails for it. It’s unbelievable the work ethic they have and it’s showing. We pulled through adversity tonight. That’s what championship caliber teams do and that’s what we did tonight. I’m really looking forward going forward.”
Heart of America 200 Recap
Zane Smith picked up his third win of the season and sixth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win. Ty Majeski, Grant Enfinger, Chandler Smith and Christian Eckes rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were four cautions for 19 laps and nine lead changes among five drivers.
How Chandler Smith’s KBM Teammates Fared:
· John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished sixth.
· Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 33rd.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
Smith fell one position to fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks series regular season standings. After eight events, he sits 29 tallies behind reigning Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes.