Chandler Smith takes the fast lane for Round 2 with Richmond win
It’s been a busy month for Chandler Smith. Just two weeks after the birth of his son Chandler Jr., the new father was able to punch his ticket to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series‘ Round of 16 dominating on Saturday World Express 250 at Richmond Circuit. It was his third victory of the year.
He and his Toyota allies dominated the race as if hoping to live up to its former ToyotaCare 250 name, with the 250 laps led by Tundras. After Smith led the first lap, the poleman Ty Majeski cleared him to take the lead and retained it for the remainder of stage #1. Smith’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate and defending winner John Hunter Nemechek led a lap between stages before Smith recovered it. Nemechek’s 2021 win also saw a Toyota sweep of the led lap counter.
Smith would not lose his head at any point for the rest of the race. The 176 total laps led are by far the most in Smith’s Truck career (his previous record was 71 at Knoxville in 2021) and the third highest in a Richmond Truck race behind Ted Musgrave199 in 2005 and Jack Sprague196 in 2001.
“God is so good,” said Smith. “I’m a dad now. My wife had such an amazing labor and delivery. We have an amazing and beautiful baby boy at home. Honey, this is for you and Jr., this is for you too. I look forward to meeting you both tonight. The blessings keep piling up. I have an incredible group behind me at KBM and an incredible group of partners with ChargeMe, Safelite and everyone else. I take this. I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I’m going to keep taking it and give all the glory to the Lord.
“As I said on Media Day, if the good Lord wants it to be our championship then it will be and if it isn’t then it isn’t. I love the way everything is going right now, that’s for sure.
The playoff drivers dominated the top ten, with Corey Heim and Taylor Gray break the party by finishing fifth and sixth respectively. The two part-timers pushed Stewart Friesen in the eleventh, while being defending champion Ben Rhodes was the worst playoff contender in a frustrating eighteenth.
“Guess we can run that badly at Kansas and move on to the next round,” Rhodes commented. “We had a terrible evening tonight, but to win a second championship, it was not what we had to do. We need to right the ship and improve.
“Honestly, I’m a little confused about the issues we’ve been fighting all night. I had some brake issues in practice. We were trying something new and I didn’t like it from the start, from the first laps. But something else was happening tonight, things I had never really felt in a race car before. We’ll have to go back and diagnose it and make sure it never happens again. All in all, I just have to say thank you to my team. They work hard. Not the night we wanted, but we can still run just as badly. We need to get wins and race better to fight for this championship.
The only race-related warning came on lap 216 when Nick Leitz was turned into an exterior wall by playoff pilots Carson Hocevar. Leitz thereafter called him out on Twitter by posting, “It’s a way to stay in the intervening round, I guess”.
|1||2||18||Chandler Smith||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|2||seven||4||John Hunter Nemechek||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|3||1||66||Ty Majeski||Thor Sports Racing||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|4||5||23||Grant Finger||Supermarket races||Chevy||250||Functioning|
|5||16||51||Corey Heim||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|6||24||17||Taylor Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||250||Functioning|
|seven||15||88||Matt Crafton||Thor Sports Racing||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|8||9||98||Christian Eckes||Thor Sports Racing||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|9||6||38||Zane Smith||Motorsports in the front row||Ford||250||Functioning|
|ten||12||42||Carson Hocevar||Niece Motorsports||Chevy||250||Functioning|
|11||3||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar Friesen Race||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|12||18||19||Derek Kraus||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevy||250||Functioning|
|13||11||16||Tyler Ankrum||Hattori Racing Companies||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|14||8||61||chase purdy||Hattori Racing Companies||Toyota||250||Functioning|
|15||31||32||Bret Holmes||Race Bret Holmes||Chevy||249||Functioning|
|16||19||15||Tanner Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||248||Functioning|
|17||ten||25||Matt DiBenedetto||WAR Rackley||Chevy||248||Functioning|
|18||14||99||Ben Rhodes||Thor Sports Racing||Toyota||248||Functioning|
|19||4||62||Layne Riggs||Halmar Friesen Race||Toyota||248||Functioning|
|20||17||35||Jacques Garcia||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevy||248||Functioning|
|21||21||30||Kaden Honeycutt||On Point Motorsports||Toyota||247||Functioning|
|22||26||02||Kaz Grala||Young’s Motorsports||Chevy||247||Functioning|
|23||25||24||Jack Wood#||Supermarket races||Chevy||247||Functioning|
|24||27||45||Lawless Alan||Niece Motorsports||Chevy||247||Functioning|
|25||28||seven||Rajah Caruth||Spire Motorsports||Chevy||247||Functioning|
|26||20||1||Hailie Degan||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||247||Functioning|
|27||13||22||Austin Wayne Himself||AM-Racing||Chevy||247||Functioning|
|28||22||91||Colby Howard||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevy||246||Functioning|
|29||30||20||Joey Gas*||Young’s Motorsports||Chevy||246||Functioning|
|30||33||44||Chad Chastain||Niece Motorsports||Chevy||246||Functioning|
|31||36||56||Timmy Hill||Hill Motorsports||Toyota||245||Functioning|
|32||32||12||Spencer Boyd||Young’s Motorsports||Chevy||244||Functioning|
|33||35||43||Major Mason†||Race of the Reaume brothers||Toyota||242||Functioning|
|34||23||9||Blaine Perkins||CR7 Motorsports||Chevy||224||Functioning|
|35||29||40||Dean Thompson||Niece Motorsports||Chevy||223||Functioning|
|36||34||33||Nick Leitz||Race of the Reaume brothers||Chevy||209||Accident|
|DNQ||5||Tyler Hill||Hill Motorsports||Toyota|
|DNQ||46||Brennan Poole||G2G race||Toyota|
|DNQ||90||Justin Carroll||TC Motorsports||Toyota|
|DNQ||14||Trey Hutchins||Trey Hutchens Race||Chevy|
|DNQ||96||Mason Maggio||Peck Motorsports||Chevy|
|DNQ||6||Norm Benning||Norm Benning Race||Chevy|
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
† – Replaced Josh Reaume