When he pursued the ARCA Menards Series championship in 2018, Zane Smith was 19 and had barely spent any time racing anything bigger than a legends car. A couple of seasons of super late model racing were on his resume with some impressive moments and some victories.
After a couple partial seasons that saw him raise eyebrows with his strong performances, Smith made a full-season run in 2018 with MDM Motorsports. The combination clicked immediately.
Smith raced to ARCA wins at the Nashville Fairgrounds, Talladega Superspeedway, Toledo Speedway and Pocono Raceway. He finished in the top five in 12 of the 20 races. His win at Talladega will likely remain in the record books forever as the closest victory in ARCA history, as series officials had to review video and photographic evidence after the computerized scoring system showed the margin of victory as 0.000 seconds, a statistical dead heat.
Smith ended the season second in the series championship standings behind teammate Sheldon Creed and was named the 2018 Bounty Rookie of the Year.
From there it was a jump into the NASCAR Xfinity Series for a partial season run with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports team. Smith impressed there, too, with seven top-10 finishes in 10 starts, including a pair of fifth-place finishes at Iowa Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.
Smith’s career rocketed when he moved into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2020. Driving for GMS Racing, he won twice in his first season with victories at Michigan International Speedway and Dover Motor Speedway. He had seven total top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes, and his run through the playoffs took him to second in the final standings.
His second season with GMS Racing in 2021 saw him notch just one win, this time at Martinsville Speedway, and just three top-five finishes, but his top-10 output increased to 14. And just like 2020, his 2021 season ended with another runner-up finish in the championship standings.
Despite the success he saw with GMS Racing, Smith made the move to Front Row Motorsports’ Truck team in 2022. The move has paid immediate dividends, as he has won three times in the first eight races of the season – the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, on the winding road course at Circuit of the Americas and just last weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Smith is locked into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs and currently sits third in the standings, 21 points behind leader and defending series champion Ben Rhodes.