Chandler Smith Finishes Third at Nashville

Chandler Smith Finishes Third at Nashville

For the second consecutive year, Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) started from the General Tire Pole at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, but for the second consecutive year Smith was forced to settle for ending the race somewhere other than victory lane.

Chandler Smith Nashville Post Race Interview

After being fasted in the abbreviated 30-minute practice on Saturday afternoon, Smith was awarded the General Tire Pole Award when qualifying was canceled. His car was equally fast in race trim as he darted out to a commanding lead in the early going. Smith would lead the first 47 laps before he caution brought most of the lead lap cars down pit road. Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) stayed out to grab the lead under caution and led the field to the restart. When the green flag waved at lap 52, Smith took advantage of the new right side rubber to jump back out front and led through lap 80.

Smith was facing series pressure from his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) at that point. Eckes would eventually sneak past to complete lap 81 and drive off to his first win of 2019. Smith was forced to settle for third, behind Eckes and runner-up finisher Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota).

Smith was not at all pleased to watch his teammate celebrate in victory lane.

“They had a little better turnability than we did,” Smith said, referring to the handling of his car through the corners versus Eckes’. “We were better than anybody getting off the corner. It was just a matter of getting in the corner and through the center. We just have to work on it a little bit and get it better for Toledo.”

Smith continued to log a lot of laps at the front of the field. Last year’s Valvoline Lap Leader Award winner has led 117 laps in three races so far in 2019. He’s led laps in every race he’s started so far this season, but he won’t be satisfied until he’s leading at the conclusion of the final lap.

“I wish we could get up there and lead at the end of the race,” he said, “I would be a lot happier than I am now.”

Just 16 years of age, Smith is not yet eligible to compete on tracks longer than one mile. He will return to action on Sunday May 19 in the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway, the fourth round of the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge. He currently sits second in the short track challenge championship, just five points behind Ty Gibbs.

Practice for the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway is scheduled for 12:30 pm ET on Saturday, May 18, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 4 pm ET. A 35-lap late model sportsman feature event will close Saturday night’s activities at the track. The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 will go green shortly after 2 m ET on Sunday, May 19. The race will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live user chat throughout all on-track sessions at New users can register for free with a valid email address at




good luck the rest of the season.