Chandler Smith claims a dramatic Truck Series victory at Las Vegas

Executing a three-lap dash to the finish and a final lap crossover move on Zane Smith to his advantage, Chandler Smith raced his way to his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the season in the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, March 4.

Smith, a 19-year-old Georgia native who is currently in his second season driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, led four times for a race-high 32 of 134-scheduled laps as he dueled with Zane Smith prior to the final lap before executing a final crossover move over Smith to muscle away with the victory ahead of Smith and Kyle Busch, thus becoming the second regular season winner two races into the 2022 Truck Series season.

Qualifying earlier on Friday determined the starting lineup and John Hunter Nemechek, winner of the spring Vegas event, started on pole position after posting a pole-winning lap at 178.583 mph at 30.238 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Kyle Busch, Nemechek’s owner who was making his first of five scheduled Truck Series starts of this season and turned in a qualifying lap at 178.000 mph, while teammate Chandler Smith made it a Kyle Busch Motorsports’ 1-2-3 sweep by qualifying in third place.

Prior to the event, Matt Jaskol dropped to the rear of the field due to a driver change along with Jordan Anderson and Blaine Perkins, both of whom due to unapproved adjustments to their respective machines.

When the green flag waved and the race started, Nemechek rocketed with an early advantage ahead of teammate and owner Kyle Busch as the field fanned out to multiple lanes through the first two turns and through the backstretch.

Following the first lap that was led by Nemechek, Kyle Busch moved into the lead. Soon after, Nemechek slipped to fourth place as Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes moved up towards the front. 

Through the first 10 laps of the event, Busch and Zane Smith battled dead even for the lead followed by Rhodes while Nemechek and Chandler Smith were in the top five. 

A lap later, Zane Smith, winner of the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway in February, overtook Busch to move into the lead as Rhodes also moved into the runner-up spot. 

Five laps later, Zane Smith continued to lead by nearly four-tenths of a second over Rhodes while Chandler Smith was in third place in his No. 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Behind, Kyle Busch fell back to fourth place followed by Carson Hocevar and Tanner Gray while John Hunter Nemechek was back in seventh place ahead of Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton and Ryan Preece.

Through the first 20 laps of the event, Zane Smith was leading by nearly a second over Chandler Smith while third-place Kyle Busch trailed by more than a second in his No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Hocevar was in fourth followed by Tanner Gray while Rhodes was back in sixth ahead of Nemechek.

A lap later, the first caution of the event flew when Blaine Perkins spun and made contact with the outside wall on the backstretch. Under caution, some led by Zane Smith pitted while the rest led by Chandler Smith remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Todd Bodine, a two-time Truck Series champion who was making his first NASCAR national touring series start since 2017, was penalized for speeding on pit road. In addition, Stewart Friesen was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation.

Just as the field restarted under green on Lap 27, the caution immediately returned when Zane Smith made contact with Colby Howard in Turn 1, which sent Howard’s No. 91 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST bouncing off of Crafton’s No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra TRD Pro as he then spun in Turn 1 while Chase Purdy and Hailie Deegan also sustained damage while trying to avoid Howard. At the moment of caution, Rhodes had managed to overtake Chandler Smith for the lead. Then, NASCAR ruled that the first stage would conclude under caution. As the green and white checkered flag flew to conclude the first stage on Lap 30, Rhodes claimed his first stage victory of the season followed by Chandler Smith, Tanner Gray, rookie Jack Wood, Carson Hocevar, Matt Crafton, Kyle Busch, Nemechek, Ty Majeski and Zane Smith.

Under the stage break, some led by Rhodes pitted while the rest led by Hocevar and Gray remained on the track.

The second stage started on Lap 37 as Gray and Hocevar occupied the front row. At the start and as the field fanned out, Hocevar passed Gray to take the lead while Nemechek, Kyle Busch, Majeski and Eckes battled for third place. Then in Turn 3, Majeski, Eckes and Nemechek made contact, but all three competitors managed to keep their trucks running straight as Nemechek moved up to third followed by Majeksi, Kyle Busch and Eckes while Hocevar continued to lead, 

By Lap 40, Hocevar was leading by less than three-tenths of a second over Gray as Kyle Busch challenged Gray for the runner-up spot. 

Five laps later, Hocevar continued to retain a narrow advantage over Kyle Busch while Nemechek was in third. Behind, Gray was in fourth ahead of Ty Majeski and Rhodes.

During the following laps, however, Kyle Busch reassumed the lead. By Lap 50, Busch was leading by half a second over teammate Nemechek while Hocevar was back in third place. Gray and Majeski were in the top five followed by Rhodes, Eckes, Chandler Smith, Stewart Friesen and Derek Kraus.

Five laps later, the caution flew when Bodine got loose and spun his No. 62 Camping World Toyota Tundra TRD Pro in Turn 4. Under caution, some led by Busch pitted while the rest led by Gray remained on the track.

With the field restarting for a one-lap dash to the conclusion of the second stage, Rhodes managed to overtake Gray for the top spot and fend off the field to claim the second stage victory on Lap 60 and sweep the stages. Busch settled in second place followed by Majeski, Nemechek, Gray, Chandler Smith, Crafton, Eckes, Friesen and Derek Kraus.

Under the stage break, some led by Rhodes pitted while the rest led by Kyle Busch remained on the track.

With 68 laps remaining, the final stage started as Kyle Busch Motorsports’ competitors occupied the top-three spots. At the start, Busch received a push from teammate Nemechek to retain the lead as he brought Nemechek’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro with him. Behind, Zane Smith overtook Hocevar to move into fourth place as Stewart Friesen and Ryan Preece joined the party.

Four laps later, Nemechek ignited a side-by-side battle against owner Kyle Busch for the lead. While teammates Nemechek and Busch battled for the lead, Friesen and Zane Smith started to challenge Chandler Smith for third place.

A few laps later, the caution returned for an incident involving Chase Purdy and Jack Wood. At the moment of caution, Nemechek emerged with the lead ahead of his two KBM teammates. Under caution, Crafton and Spencer Boyd pitted while the rest led by Nemechek remained on the track.

With 57 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Nemechek received a push from teammate Chandler Smith to retain the lead. Behind, Zane Smith moved up to third while Kyle Busch was left in a battle with Hocevar for fourth.

Seven laps later, Nemechek was leading by three-tenths of a second over teammate Chandler Smith while bossman Kyle Busch trailed by seven-tenths of a second. Zane Smith was in fourth followed by Derek Kraus while Friesen, Preece, Eckes, Rhodes and Hocevar were in the top 10. Grant Enfinger was in 11th followed by Gray, Tyler Antrum, Matt DiBenedetto and Majeski while Crafton was mired back in 23rd. In between Matt Mills and Kaz Grala. Meanwhile, Todd Bodine was in 26th.

With 45 laps remaining, the caution returned when Bodine spun in Turn 4 and across pit road as his rear deck lid came loose despite making significant contact with any obstacles.

Under caution, the leaders except for Timmy Hill peeled to pit road and Nemechek retained the lead followed by teammates Busch and Chandler Smith. Following the pit stops, Zane Smith was penalized for speeding on pit road. In addition, Hill dropped to the rear of the field and yielded the lead to the KBM competitors.

Down to the final 40 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, teammates Nemechek and Chandler Smith battled dead even for the lead through the first two turns before Smith peaked ahead through the backstretch. As Smith took the lead, Eckes challenged Nemechek for the runner-up spot while Rhodes, Kyle Busch, Hocevar and Nemechek battled.

Two laps later, the caution returned when Hocevar, who was overtaken by Rhodes and Busch in Turn 3, got loose and was hit by Preece’s No. 17 United Rentals Ford F-150 before spinning his No. 42 Premier Security Solutions Chevrolet Silverado RST through the frontstretch grass.

Then as the field restarted with 32 laps remaining, the caution returned during the following lap when Ty Majeski got loose entering Turn 4 and turned his teammate Ben Rhodes, sending Rhodes’ No. 99 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra TRD Pro hard into the outside wall and out of the race as his truck briefly came off the ground. 

Down to the final 23 laps of the event, the race restarted under green as teammates Chandler Smith and Kyle Busch occupied the front row. At the start, Smith rocketed ahead with the lead as Eckes made his way into second place ahead of Busch. 

Three laps remaining, Chandler Smith was leading by a narrow margin over teammate Busch while Eckes, Grant Enfinger and Nemechek were in the top five. By then, Carson Hocevar was posted for changing lanes prior to the restart.

Then with 16 laps remaining, Kris Wright drew the caution when he spun his No. 44 iHeartRadio Chevrolet Silverado RST in Turn 2. 

Five laps later, the race resumed to green flag competition as teammates Chandler Smith and Eckes occupied the front row once again. At the start, Eckes received a strong push from Preece to take the lead as Kyle Busch made a move to the outside lane to rocket pass teammate Smith, who was falling out of the lead pack. Shortly after, Busch overtook Preece for the runner-up spot as he pursued Eckes for the lead.

Then with nine laps remaining, Eckes, who was challenged by Busch for the lead, spun after making contact with Busch, which sent Eckes’ No, 98 Curb Records Toyota Tundra TRD Pro sliding below the banking and pounding the infield wall drivers’ side before coming back across the track with significant damage despite being dodged by the field. While Busch proceeded with the lead, Eckes’ strong run concluded in the garage.

Down to the final three laps of the event, the field restarted under green. At the start, Zane Smith emerged with the top spot following a strong start over Kyle Busch as the field fanned out entering the backstretch. Behind, Preece and Chandler Smith placed Kyle Busch in a three-wide situation as Smith moved into second place followed by Busch while Preece slipped in Turn 3.

During the following lap, Zane Smith continued to lead ahead of a hard-charging Chandler Smith while Kyle Busch remained in third. Then through the backstretch, Derek Kraus, who got loose during the initial lap, made contact with Grant Enfinger, which sent Kraus’ No. 19 NAPA Chevrolet Silverado RST bouncing off of Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota before slipping sideways below the banking. In spite of the incident, Kraus continued as the race proceeded under green. 

Back at the front, Chandler Smith drew himself alongside Zane Smith’s No. 38 Michael Roberts Construction Ford F-150 through Turns 3 and 4 while Kyle Busch lurked behind the two leaders.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Chandler Smith and Zane Smith dueled for the lead as Chandler peaked ahead on the outside lane. Then in Turn 1, Chandler Smith remained on the outside lane in front of teammate Kyle Busch while Zane Smith tried to clear the two Kyle Busch Motorsports competitors from the bottom lane entering Turn 2. Chandler Smith, however, pulled a crossover move against Zane Smith’s slide job process, which gave Chandler’s No. 18 Toyota the inside lane as he rocketed back to the lead entering Turn 3. As Zane Smith was unable to mount another challenge for the lead, Chandler Smith was able to able to pull away and cross the finish line in first place by less than three-tenths of a second over Zane Smith followed by the field.

As the field took the checkered flag, Grant Enfinger crossed the finish line on fire and with damage to his No. 23 Champion Chevrolet Silverado RST after making contact with the outside wall in Turn 3. Behind, Nemechek, who was losing ground following the contact with Kraus, was involved in a vicious accident after spinning before being t-boned by Jordan Anderson in Turn 3. Also involved was Spencer Boyd, who dislocated his shoulder and announced plans to check in to a hospital for get x-rays.

With the victory, Chandler Smith notched his third Camping World Truck Series career win in his 40th series start. He also recorded the first victory of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports and the first NASCAR win for the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro stock car.

“When you guys tune into me halfway through the race, ‘how did he get up there?”’ Smith, who motioned towards the sky, said on FS1. “It’s the good Lord, man. He performs miracles all day. He’s given me this talent, this opportunity to drive this truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports and for [sponsor] Safelite. I’m just beyond thankful for this whole opportunity. All the glory goes to Him, all my guys, my wife, everybody’s that’s a part of this deal that deals with me, honestly, every single day. I’m just super thankful right now. Man, I’m just another guy that’s just trying to race cars for a living. I’ll do whatever the good Lord lets me do.”

Zane Smith, who was trying to claim back-to-back victories after winning the season-opening event at Daytona, settled in second place followed by Kyle Busch, who led 31 of 134-scheduled laps.

“[Chandler Smith’s truck] was, definitely, the best truck tonight,” Busch said. “They did a great job being able to execute there. We split him on that second-to-last restart and there on that last restart, he split us. Kind of a little payback, I guess, but then I was worried that [Zane Smith] was gonna win. Overall, [Chandler Smith] was able to get a good run and get cleared down the backstretch here. Really proud of those guys. [Crew chief] Danny [Stockman Jr.] and Chandler both just executed very well tonight. Cool to see [sponsor] Safelite in Victory Lane with them. Our JBL Tundra was just not quite as good as theirs…Overall, a really good night. First and third.”

Following the event, however, Zane Smith was disqualified and stripped of his runner-up result when his truck failed post-race inspection because his lug nuts did not conform to the rule book.

With Busch promoted to second place behind teammate Chandler Smith, Friesen was credited with third place followed by Ryan Preece and Tanner Gray. Matt DiBenedetto, Matt Crafton, Bret Holmes, Austin Wayne Self and Ty Majeski finished in the top 10. The seventh-place result for Crafton occurred in his 500th Truck Series consecutive career start.

Dean Thompson was the highest-finishing rookie competitor in 11th behind Ty Majeski, Todd Bodine finished 21st, Enfinger finished 23rd and Nemechek managed to finish 25th on the lead lap.

There were 21 lead changes for 10 different leaders. The race featured 10 cautions for 52 laps.

Following his victory, Chandler Smith leads the regular-season standings by five points over Tanner Gray, 15 over Ty Majeski, 17 over Ben Rhodes and 22 over Stewart Friesen.


1. Chandler Smith, 32 laps led

2. Kyle Busch, 31 laps led

3. Stewart Friesen

4. Ryan Preece, three laps led

5. Tanner Gray, seven laps led

6. Matt DiBenedetto

7. Matt Crafton

8. Bret Holmes

9. Austin Wayne Self

10. Ty Majeski

11. Dean Thompson

12. Tate Fogleman

13. Carson Hocevar, nine laps led

14. Chase Purdy

15. Matt Mills

16. Tyler Ankrum

17. Kris Wright

18. Timmy Hill

19. Lawless Alan

20. Loris Hezemans

21. Todd Bodine

22. Matt Jaskol

23. Grant Enfinger

24. Derek Kraus

25. John Hunter Nemechek, 23 laps led

26. Jordan Anderson – OUT, Accident

27. Spencer Boyd – OUT, Accident

28. Christian Eckes – OUT, Accident, four laps led

29. Thad Moffitt, 20 laps down

30. Kaz Grala – OUT, Engine

31. Ben Rhodes – OUT, Accident, nine laps led, Stage 1 & 2 winner

32. Jack Wood – OUT, Accident

33. Hailie Deegan – OUT, Accident

34. Colby Howard – OUT, Accident

35. Blaine Perkins – OUT, Dvp

36. Zane Smith – Disqualified, 15 laps led

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors and teams will return to action at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Free Spins No Deposit UK

10 deposit casinos

Latest articles