A pit stop was the key for Chandler Smith on Saturday at Richmond. After following the leaders during the first stage, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver stole the lead of the Worldwide Express 250 from Ty Majeski in the pit cycle following the first stage, and with adjustments for a cooling track, never looked back.
He led the final 175 laps of a largely caution-free racing, breaking the yearly series record for the longest green-flag stints multiple times. The win guarantees Smith a spot in the second round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. And it was extra-special for him, too, in the first race since his first child was born.
“I’m a Daddy now,” said Chandler after getting out of the truck. “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 [son] Jr. this is for you as well. I can’t wait to get home to you two tonight.
“The blessings just keep stacking up,” he added. “I have an incredible group behind me at KBM and an incredible group of partners with ChargeMe, Safelite and everybody. I’m taking this in. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it, but I’m going to keep taking it in.”
Smith’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate John Hunter Nemechek finished 2.790 seconds behind him in second place. He ended up running down his teammate in the final laps, but ran out of time to get to him.
“We didn’t adjust quite like we needed to from day to night,” said Nemechek. “Partly on me so I’ll take that one. Overall, solid day for our Safeway Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Thank you to all of our great partners that are on this Tundra TRD and everyone that helps out and keeps us going here. Just big picture racing I would say. Really good points day. Can’t complain about that, just one spot short. It’s good to be disappointed when you have a run like that.”
“Really good points day,” he stressed, looking at the bigger picture: “Let’s go advance to the next round. Only thing that matters is getting to the final four in Phoenix to compete for a championship.”
Third place finisher Ty Majeski dominated the first stage, but fell down to third to start the second stage after a pit incident. Majeski’s jackman tripped while running around the truck, and Majeski slammed on his brakes and avoided him. It did slow down his stop, though, and cost him the two positions he never got back.
“I saw him trip and I slammed on the brakes so I didn’t hit him. He did a great job and it was actually his first time tonight and he recovered well and really salvaged that pit stop. He rebounded and had some really great stops. That’s what teamwork is all about, we win and lose as a team. I tried to encourage him over the radio and told him it was a good recovery. They gave me two great pit stops on those last two.”
At the end of the day, he called it a “really good run,” adding: “We had a good points day and we’re right there.”
Three-time series champion Matt Crafton came home seventh and moved above the Playoff cut line, three points ahead of Hocevar, who dropped to ninth in the standings, despite salvaging a 10th-place finish. Two drivers will be eliminated when the truck series returns at Kansas on September 9th.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – 3rd Annual Worldwide Express 250 Carrier Appreciation
Saturday, August 13, 2022
1. (2) Chandler Smith (P), Toyota, 250.
2. (7) John Hunter Nemechek (P), Toyota, 250.
3. (1) Ty Majeski (P), Toyota, 250.
4. (5) Grant Enfinger (P), Chevrolet, 250.
5. (16) Corey Heim # (P), Toyota, 250.
6. (24) Taylor Gray (P), Ford, 250.
7. (15) Matt Crafton (P), Toyota, 250.
8. (9) Christian Eckes (P), Toyota, 250.
9. (6) Zane Smith (P), Ford, 250.
10. (12) Carson Hocevar (P), Chevrolet, 250.
11. (3) Stewart Friesen (P), Toyota, 250.
12. (18) Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 250.
13. (11) Tyler Ankrum, Toyota, 250.
14. (8) Chase Purdy, Toyota, 250.
15. (31) Bret Holmes, Chevrolet, 249.
16. (19) Tanner Gray, Ford, 248.
17. (10) Matt DiBenedetto, Chevrolet, 248.
18. (14) Ben Rhodes (P), Toyota, 248.
19. (4) Layne Riggs, Toyota, 248.
20. (17) Jake Garcia, Chevrolet, 248.
21. (21) Kaden Honeycutt, Toyota, 247.
22. (26) Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, 247.
23. (25) Jack Wood #, Chevrolet, 247.
24. (27) Lawless Alan #, Chevrolet, 247.
25. (28) Rajah Caruth, Chevrolet, 247.
26. (20) Hailie Deegan, Ford, 247.
27. (13) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 247.
28. (22) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 246.
29. (30) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, 246.
30. (33) Chad Chastain, Chevrolet, 246.
31. (36) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 245.
32. (32) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 244.
33. (35) Mason Maggio, Toyota, 242.
34. (23) Blaine Perkins #, Chevrolet, 224.
35. (29) Dean Thompson #, Chevrolet, 223.
36. (34) Nick Leitz, Chevrolet, Accident, 209.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.209 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 56 Mins, 56 Secs. Margin of Victory: 2.790 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 3 for 25 laps.
Lead Changes: 4 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Smith (P) 1;T. Majeski (P) 2-74;J. Nemechek (P) 75;C. Smith (P) 76-250.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Chandler Smith (P) 2 times for 176 laps; Ty Majeski (P) 1 time for 73 laps; John Hunter Nemechek (P) 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 66,4,18,52,23,16,88,62,98,51
Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,4,23,66,17,51,52,88,38,16
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