Announced today via Kyle Busch Motorsports, Chandler Smith will drive the famed No. 51 Toyota Tundra in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series with sponsorship from JBL. The Georgia native made a lot of noise early on in his Truck Series career by having outstanding performances.
Last year Smith competed in four races and will add four more in 2020 for a total of eight races with KBM. Those eight races include Richmond International Raceway on April 18 and Dover International Speedway on May 1. During those two races, he will be a part of the annual “Triple Truck Challenge.” Then the next time Smith will be on-track in the truck will be August 8 at Michigan International Speedway, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on August 21, Bristol Motor Speedway on September 17, Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 25, Talladega Superspeedway on October 3 and his final race of the year will be at Phoenix International Raceway on November 6.
While some of these tracks may be new to Smith, he competed in four races last year and had stellar performances by achieving three top fives and four top-10 finishes with a best finish of second at Bristol last August. The KBM driver made his first start at Iowa Speedway last June and led 55 laps. During that time, the Georgia native was able to learn quickly in those four races.
“I learned a lot about racing in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series last season in my four races and I’m thankful to everyone at KBM, JBL, Toyota and TRD for the opportunity to have an expanded schedule this year,” Smith said. “Danny Stockman (crew chief) and all the guys on the No. 51 team are already off to a great start getting a win with Kyle (Busch) at Las Vegas and having a strong run with Riley (Herbst) at Daytona. I know they are going to provide me with fast JBL Tundras every week. If I do my job and we execute as a team, I’m confident that we’ll be able to rack up a few wins and put ourselves in position to bring home another owner’s championship for KBM.”
Team-Owner Kyle Busch says Smith reminds him a lot of former drivers Erik Jones and most recently driver Christian Eckes.
“Chandler is one of those young drivers that come along and are able to produce speed and run up front at every level as they progress up the ladder and it was no different for him last year in the Truck Series,” owner Kyle Busch said. “He was fastest in practice for his first truck race and went out and led a bunch of laps. Although he had just four races on his schedule, he was in the mix for the win a couple of times and we feel that his first of many wins at KBM is just around the corner.
While running a part-time schedule this year, Busch says it’s intended to prepare Smith for running full-time in 2021.
“Much like some of the younger guys before him, Erik Jones and most recently Christian Eckes, we feel that the schedule he is running for his second year in trucks is a mix of different types of tracks and with a good portion of his races coming during the Playoffs it will help to prepare him for running for rookie of the year and competing for a championship next season.”