Making his fourth and final start of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season, 17-year-old Chandler Smith continued to show why he’s one of the top young drivers in the sport. Smith qualified sixth, but quickly made his way into the top three and ran inside the top five for the majority of the event.
When the field had completed 150 laps, Smith ended the event in the third position. It was his second consecutive top-three finish in his debut season. The Georgia native finished seventh or better in each of his four Gander Trucks starts in 2019, posting an impressive average finish of 4.2
Stage One Recap:
Smith would register the sixth fastest time of Friday afternoon’s qualifying session and was scored in the fifth position when his KBM teammate Brandon Jones spun on lap two and brought out the first caution of the event.
On lap eight, the No. 46 Tundra moved up to the third position and on lap 18 maneuvered his way into the runner-up spot.
The iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra stayed on track after the field was slowed for the second time on lap 24. On the ensuing restart, Smith battled side-by-side with Ben Rhodes for several laps, with the KBM driver being scored as the leader of lap 30, before falling back in line behind Rhodes.
Smith remained in the runner-up spot when the Final Stage ended on lap 45.
Stage Two Recap:
When pit road opened, Smith brought his Toyota to the attention of his over-the-wall crew who put on fresh right-side tires and filled it with fuel.
Smith returned to the track scored in the seventh position when Stage Two went green on lap 53.
The Georgia native would methodically make his way back towards the front of the field. On lap 56 he worked his way to the inside of his KBM teammate Harrison Burton for the fourth position and on lap 70 he moved into the third spot.
With Stage Two staying green from start to finish, the No. 46 Tundra would cross the stripe in third.
Final Stage Recap:
Crew chief Marcus Richmond summoned his young driver to pit road between stages for a four-tire and fuel stop with a chassis adjustment.
Quick work by the over-the-wall crew allowed Smith to take the lap-99 restart from the fourth position. When the Final Stage went green, the field spawned out six-wide through the dogleg and the No. 46 Toyota fell back one position to fifth before the fifth and final caution of the night occurred one lap later.
A strong restart propelled Smith to the third position, but the top two trucks where five truck lengths ahead of him.
As the final 44 laps went caution free, the talented teenager communicated that his iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra was “sliding all over the track,” but was able to maintain the third position when the event came to a completion at lap 150.
The racing prodigy ended his debut season in the Gander Trucks with three top-five and four top-10 finishes across four starts, split between the No. 46 and No. 51 teams.
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How does it feel to finish third in Phoenix?
“Finished top three and it’s the second top three for me this year. Overall these guys gave me a heck of an 828 Logistics iBUYPOWER Toyota Tundra tonight. We ended up third, and the type of truck we had tonight was just a third-place truck. It was a little too snug there at the end there to catch the 52 (Stewart Friesen), but hats off to them. Hats off for a really good season, we’re going to go give them hell next year.”
Lucas Oil 150 Recap:
Stewart Friesen collected his second NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory. KBM driver Brandon Jones finished 0.860 seconds behind Friesen in the runner-up spot. Smith finished third, while Ben Rhodes and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five finishers.
The race featured five cautions for a total of 30 laps. There were nine lead changes among seven drivers.
How Burton’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished second
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished seventh
Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 14th
ISM Raceway was the final race of the season for the No. 46 team, which ran a limited schedule this season.