Three Toyota Tundras battled within the Championship 4 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in Friday night’s race at Phoenix Raceway. Ben Rhodes (second) and Chandler Smith (third) battled to the checkered flag, but would come up just short of the championship to Zane Smith. Ty Majeski also battled for the championship, but a late-race accident put him to the 20th position at the conclusion of the race. Corey Heim (seventh) clinched the Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Race 23 of 23 – 150 Laps, 150 Miles
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITION
1st, Zane Smith*
2nd, BEN RHODES
3rd, CHANDLER SMITH
4th, JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK
5th, STEWART FRIESEN
7th, COREY HEIM
9th, KADEN HONEYCUTT
12th, MATT CRAFTON
13th, LAYNE RIGGS
14th, TYLER ANKRUM
19th, CHASE PURDY
20th, TY MAJESKI
23rd, TYLER HILL
26th, CHRIS HACKER
27th, TIMMY HILL
30th, CHRISTIAN ECKES
BEN RHODES, No. 99 Kubota Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, ThorSport Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
Could you have done anything differently in the final restart to hold off Zane Smith?
“I don’t know, two tires versus four, that was the name of the game. We didn’t have the pace all night that we needed to be up there and repeat so it was a great heads-up call by my crew chief. Ultimately, we just didn’t need that last caution. I think we could have held them off for the final few laps. I was giving him (Zane Smith) all the dirty air he could handle. I think we were going to be fine until that caution got us. On that last restart, I tried to get a jump, but two tires versus four, I just didn’t have the grip I needed. I did the best I could and threw a move on him, but didn’t have enough grip to make it stick. All in all, I’m proud of my Kubota Toyota Tundra team and everyone at ThorSport Racing. We just need to go back and do our homework and second is not fun. I’m going to mope my way back to Kentucky.”
What do you need to do to improve rolling into 2023?
“We just fight, fight, fight no matter what and I’ve got that down. We just have to find some more speed and get the consistency when it matters throughout the regular season. That will help make our Playoffs a little bit easier and maybe spend more time focusing on some more R&D or sim stuff. But for the most part, again, I’m proud of the fight that we had, the tenacity, the grit to be able to come in clutch when we need to, but I’d like to not have to come in clutch all the time.”
CHANDLER SMITH, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd
What is your thoughts after finishing third tonight?
“It just wasn’t meant to be. We gave it our best shot. I got into (turn) three, and it wasn’t met to be. It is as simple as that. I can’t thank everybody enough at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports), Safelite, all of the partners that helped along the way this year. TRD, Jack Irving (TRD) – everything those guys have done for me for the past six plus years. I really wanted to get that one, but it wasn’t met to be. I’ve said all week if it was met to be, it would be and it wasn’t. It’s all good.”
TY MAJESKI, No. 66 Road Ranger Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, ThorSport Racing
Finishing Position: 20th
Can you take me through what you would have done different?
“Yeah, I don’t know. I was being aggressive there. We wanted to bring a championship home for Duke and Rhonda (Thorson) and everybody at ThorSport. I thought the best opportunity there for us was to try to wiggle the 38 (Zane Smith) a little bit and try to get underneath him and try to set up the race between Ben (Rhodes) and I. I was just trying to be aggressive underneath him and lost it off of (turn) two. All you can ask for is the chance to win the championship with five to go and we had that tonight, and it just didn’t pan out. I’m proud of our season and proud of what we accomplished as a 66 bunch. Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief) and the team have been great to work with. It just stings to be that close and see it in front of you and just come up a little bit short. We will come back next year and come back stronger.”
Toyota Racing PR