Chandler Smith closes season with five top-five finishes in his last six starts

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Chandler Smith (third) led four Toyotas in the top six finishers in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway on Friday evening. Smith’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Christian Eckes (fourth) and Raphael Lessard (fifth) joined him in the top-five, while Stewart Friesen (sixth) completed Toyota’s top-10 finishers at Phoenix.

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Phoenix Raceway

Race 23 of 23 – 150 Laps, 150 Miles

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS

1stSheldon Creed*

2ndZane Smith*

3rd, CHANDLER SMITH

4th, CHRISTIAN ECKES

5th, RAPHAËL LESSARD

6th, STEWART FRIESEN

12th, AUSTIN HILL

23rd, SPENCER DAVIS

24th, DEREK KRAUS

26th, DANNY BOHN

30th, AKINORI OGATA

*non-Toyota driver

TOYOTA QUOTES

CHANDLER SMITH, No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

Finishing Position: 3rd

How did you get to the podium on that final restart?

“Overall, we had a really good finish in our No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra. We just missed it on our splitter heights this weekend and ultimately it killed us, especially with how deep we started in the pack. We stayed out on that late race caution, got some track position and executed.”

CHRISTIAN ECKES, No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

Finishing Position: 4th

Solid top-five finish after a wild final restart. How was the finish from your seat?

“I chose the bottom. On those last restarts, I saw that you can make moves, go low and go really wherever you need to. That played in our favor, pretty well overall. I wish we would have been a little bit lower, maybe, we would have been in front of the 2 (Sheldon Creed). Not sure if we had the speed to beat him, but the track position definitely could have helped. Overall, pretty proud of my team. We were able to get Chandler (Smith) up there to get a top-five too, and I think all three of our Tundras were in the top-five too. It was a good day for KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports).”

RAPHAËL LESSARD, No. 4 Mobil1 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

Finishing Position: 5th

It was a good day and you made some moves on that final restart to get a top-five. How was your day?

“It was pretty good. It was my first time here at Phoenix. I have never seen the track before so it was a little bit of learning at first. I think I got used to it really quick. We stayed in the top-10 most of the race. We got both sides. We were pretty good and couldn’t really make moves because it was so hard to pass, and I was still learning the racetrack. Then we got to the last stage, we got way too free. We were super loose, but we kept fighting and trying to pass people. Then the caution came out and we had the green-white-checkered. We came in and put on two right side tires, and we fired off on the last restart and we got everything we could get. We finished with a good top-five I feel like that is pretty good for my first time here. I’m just glad we got to run this year with everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota,TRD. It’s been an awesome year and CANAC, they’ve been a huge help for me this year. I’m just proud to have driven a full season and have a win in the Truck Series.”

STEWART FRIESEN, No. 52 Halmar ‘Racing to Beat Hunger’ Toyota Tundra, Halmar Friesen Racing

Finishing Position: 6th

It was a really strong run all night Stewart. How was it from your seat?

“It was really good. We just made adjustments on it – had a good long run truck in the end. We decided to come down pit road on that green-white-checkered deal and put on two tires, tried to get some track position. We just got jammed up on the restart and couldn’t really use it. We ended up with a sixth. We needed to get to the bottom on (turns) one and two and kind of got jammed in the top. It is what it is. We will take it and move on. It’s a good end to the season. We made some changes the last four or five races and we really picked up some speed and really showed the potential of this team. We will take that momentum and go into next year with that. A top-10, so another $5,000 to another local food bank for the Halmar ‘Race to Beat Hunger.’ To keep that going is pretty awesome as well.”

Does Monday begin 2021 planning for you? It was an up-and-down year, but you ended the season strong.
“Yeah, just getting the right people in the right places. 2021 starts Monday. The guys in the shop have a good gameplan on how to spend the next couple months getting prepared and we know the areas we need to work on and approve on. It was a big building year for us. We look forward to being in contention for the championship next year.”

Toyota Racing PR

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