- Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Safelite team head to Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway for the final race of the Round of 8 looking to punch their ticket to the Championship 4 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway. The 20-year-old driver enters Saturday’s race second on the Camping World Truck Series playoff grid, 30 points above the cutoff line for advancing to Phoenix, where he is the defending race winner. If Ty Majeski or a driver not in the playoffs were to win Saturday, Smith would clinch his spot in the championship round by totaling 26 points Saturday. If there is a new winner from the playoff grid, he would clinch his spot in the finals by earning 29 points.
- For Smith, it will be his first start in any series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he has posted an average finish of 5.17 across his six starts on mile-and-a-half tracks this season, including a victory at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. He is pulling double duty this weekend, piloting the No. 26 GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, which is the backend of Saturday’s double header. With running the Xfinity Series event, Smith will get some extra track time with that series’ practice and qualifying taking place Friday night after Truck Series practice and qualifying.
- The Georgia driver has recorded an average finish of 11.5 across the first two races of the Round of 8, falling behind in the Final Stage of both events after gaining valuable stage points. At Bristol, he won the opening two stages before ending the day with a ninth-place result. At Talladega, he finished fourth in the opening stanza, won Stage Two and then crossed the stripe in the 14th position. Smith punched his ticket to the Round of 8 with a win at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Smith dominated the middle race of the Round of 10, leading 176 of the final 177 laps, picked up the Stage 2 win and the victory and added six playoff points that have carried over to the Round of 8. The victory was Smith’s third of 2022 and the fifth of his career.
- The Toyota Racing Development product has produced three wins in 2022: the second race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the regular season finale at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and in the Round of 8 at Richmond. Across 21 Truck Series starts this season Smith has recorded eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. He ranks first among Truck Series regulars in laps led (440), average running position (8.853), laps completed (2898) and is second in average finish (9.0) and fastest laps run (203), and third in driver rating (102.1) and quality passes (678).
- Smith made the playoffs last year in his first full-time campaign as the 10th seed. He advanced to the Round of 8 with a must-win victory at Bristol in the final race in the Round of 10. He found himself in another must-win situation in the final race in the Round of 8 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and saw his playoff run end when he finished fourth. As a consolation prize, he won the pole and swept all three stages in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway.
- Smith earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September of 2021. Across 59 career Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development driver had recorded five wins, one pole, 746 laps led, 22 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8.
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will once again call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team in 2022. Stockman’s drivers have produced nine victories at KBM since he joined the organization in 2020, including five with Smith behind the wheel. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s drivers have produced one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 14.0 across three Truck Series starts at Homestead-Miami. In the series most recent visit to the Florida track, he guided KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch to a dominant victory leading 82 of 134 laps in June of 2020.
- Safelite, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services, returned to KBM for a fifth season and will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s Tundra TRD Pro Tundra for 16 races this year, including Saturday’s race at Homestead.