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”.

Race results

Finish Begin Number Driver Crew Maker Towers Status
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
Bold – Currently in the playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
† – Replaced Josh Reaume

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