- Chandler Smith and the No. 18 Charge Me team head to Pocono Raceway for Saturday’s CRC Brakleen 150. Entering the final event of the regular season, Smith is tied for second in the point standings with his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek, 58 points behind Zane Smith. The 20-year old driver is locked into the playoffs via his win earlier this season at Las Vegs (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
- In last year’s Truck Series race at Pocono, Smith moved from his 11th starting position to finish fifth in Stage One but had a series of setbacks in the second half of the race that relegated him to a 25th-place finish. In addition to his Truck Series start, the racing prodigy has an average finish of 7.3 across three ARCA Menards Series starts at the Pennsylvania track, including a runner-up finish in 2020.
- Through the first 15 events of the season Smith ranks first among Truck Series regulars in laps completed (1952) and quality passes (540), second in average finish (9.3), third in average running position (9.628) and fourth in driver rating (98.0). He has produced one win, 96 laps led, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in his sophomore campaign. With eight races remaining this season, Smith has already matched the number of top-five and eclipsed the number of top-10 finishes he had in 2021.
- The Georgia driver earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory.
- Across 53 career Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development driver had recorded three wins, one pole, 402 laps led, 20 top-five and 28 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.3.
- In addition to his Truck Series schedule in 2022, Smith is competing in a three-race schedule with Sam Hunt Racing (SHR). Smith finished 38th in his series debut at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after a mid-race wreck and finished 21st at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway. His final race with SHR will come Oct. 22 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
- Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will once again call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team in 2022. Stockman’s drivers have produced six victories at KBM across his first two seasons, including two with Smith behind the wheel in 2021. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s drivers have collected one win, two top-five and three top-10 finishes in Truck Series action at Pocono. Stockman was atop the pit box at Pocono for Brandon Jones’ first career Truck Series victory in 2020.
- Charge Me will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s No. 18 Tundra TRD Pro Saturday at Pocono. Charge Me was founded on the principle that the electric vehicle (EV) revolution will require robust infrastructure support at all levels. Safelite, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services will serve as an associate sponsor on the bedtop of Smith’s Toyota this week and for 16 races as a primary sponsor throughout the 2022 season, including next week’s event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind.
You are tied for second in the regular season standings heading into Saturday. Do you race for stage points in an effort to finish second in the points or do you go for a strategy to race for the win?
“We just have to maximize our day overall and keep the bigger picture in clear sight. Our strategy will depend on where we are running near the end of the two stages and if we think we have a truck capable of winning. Ideally, you’d like to win the race and finish second in the regular season standings at the same time and maximize the amount of playoff points you earn heading into next week.”
What is the trickiest part at “The Tricky Triangle?”
“The trickiest part is probably the tunnel turn. You have to set yourself up well on entry to have a good exit and then that determines the overall speed that you carry all the way to Turn 3, which is a lot of lap time.”
How important is it to have a strong run on Saturday and have momentum heading into the start of the playoffs?
“Have a strong run Saturday as we get ready to start the playoffs will be huge. We had a solid run at Mid-Ohio and if we can have another one at Pocono then that momentum will be good for our team, and everyone will enter the playoffs with a positive attitude.”