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Ford Performance NASCAR: Zane Smith Ready for Talladega Truck Race

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Camping World Series
Talladega Advance | Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Zane Smith, driver of the No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops/PEAK Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Front Row Motorsports, is currently second in the series point standings and 21 points above the cut line going into Saturday’s scheduled race at Talladega Superspeedway. Smith was part of a media Zoom call this afternoon and discussed his current situation and how he’s approaching the final two events in the Round of 8.

ZANE SMITH, No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops/PEAK Ford F-150 – HOW ARE YOU LOOKING TOWARDS THIS WEEKEND WITH A BIT OF UNCERTAINTY AROUND THE WEATHER? “I kind of approach it just like any race weekend to say the least. I don’t know. I was honestly really happy with our truck, for the most part, at Daytona and Daytona went really good for us. I felt like I was able to take a push way better than I have been able to in the past. We didn’t have the best speed. I wish we were better in a few areas with our truck, but we’ve made a few small changes. We won’t be able to see those because there’s no practice at Talladega, but I had seen that we were most likely gonna have rain and I was kind of excited about that qualifying-wise because I think I would start second and my qualifying efforts at Daytona weren’t great, but I don’t know. We’ll see. I don’t know where we should qualify. The changes we made may be really good, but I guess time will tell. There’s no doubt I think we’ll race good and that’s what matters.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO GET STAGE POINTS OR WILL YOU GIVE THOSE UP IF THINGS GET TOO CRAZY TO MAKE SURE YOU GET TO THE FINISH? “I’ve been gung ho on just racing the whole time. I’ve been involved in a wreck everywhere at Talladega. I feel like I’ve been wrecked riding and I’ve been wrecked leading, so I wanted to race but a few guys on my team are saying that they think we should ride, but I don’t know. I feel like it’s one of those deals where I want to race and if you’re gonna be up there, then I feel like you take advantage of some stage points, but obviously you just kind of read who is around you and how they’re racing. Obviously, if it’s getting too much, then I think you need to get out of it. We’re above the bubble by 21 points right now and so that’s just something we need to keep in mind and keep track of where we’re at with that. I know there will be a few guys that will be really aggressive that are below the cut line, so you just need to watch them and how they’re racing and hopefully not get involved in someone else’s mess.”

THERE’S BEEN SOME CHATTER ABOUT DGR POTENTIALLY CHANGING MANUFACTURERS. IF THEY DO AND YOU GUYS NEED TO BRING MORE THINGS IN-HOUSE, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT YOU CAN DO AT FRONT ROW ON YOUR OWN? “Yeah, I am. I don’t know what is done and what is going to happen there, but I’m just mostly focused on our group, but, no, I’m not too concerned. I feel like the attention to detail is the best I’ve ever seen with the group that we have on this 38 truck and so that really matters in that department. It’ll be tough finding the right people if that is the case, but hopefully whatever the case is, we know sooner than later so we know which direction we need to move in.”

ARE YOU AT A DISADVANTAGE WITH THE NUMBER OF FORD TRUCKS IN THE FIELD AT TALLADEGA COMPARED TO THE OTHER MANUFACTURERS? “We had our meeting yesterday of just helping each other. It’s really hard to go into these races just with a set plan and this is what we’re gonna do. Typically, when that happens I think everything possible as far as bad things to mess up that plan happens. I know the 17 truck is chasing the owner’s championship, so I don’t know how much below he is, but I’m sure he’s gonna be aggressive and then the 1 and the 15 will hopefully help with some stage points, whether that’s helping us push and get some or take away stage points from others. I know Parker and I worked well together at Daytona and I’ve worked with Grant some on some superspeedway stuff. I feel like in the beginning chasing stage points, yeah, there is manufacturer help that people work together with, but towards the end I feel like it just becomes all for themselves and whoever lines up behind you on restarts, especially now that it’s in the Round of 8 and if you win you get into the Round of 4, so, yeah, it’s low numbers in the Ford camp, but it didn’t affect us too much at Daytona, so I’m not too worried about it.”

HAVE YOU DEVELOPED A GOOD SENSE OF WHEN A WRECK MIGHT BE COMING ON THE SUPERSPEEDWAYS AND, IF SO, WHAT IS THAT LIKE? “Yeah, I don’t know if I get lucky with just reading other trucks around me. At Talladega, I don’t have a great track record about that, but in most situations I feel like I’ve read those situations very well and got lucky with that, so I feel like some of that is spotter-related, too. I think I have probably the best spotter up there in Josh WIlliams. He’s great at reading those situations. I mean, you see it on Sunday too with Ryan always being up there, so I’m just super confident in the group I have around me and I now have more experience and now, fortunately, a race win on a superspeedway, so that just gives confidence. I’ve just been on every side of situations on a superspeedway in a truck, so I don’t know what Talladega will bring. I don’t think anyone knows, but we’ll do our best and hopefully come out OK and go to Homestead still above the bubble.”

WITH THE LONG BREAKS THE TRUCK SERIES HAS COMING UP IN THE PLAYOFFS IS THERE ANYTHING YOU HAVE PLANNED TO GO RACE, LIKE CARTING OR SOMETHING, TO KEEP YOUR SKILLS SHARP – AND WHAT ARE THESE BREAKS LIKE? “I definitely wish I was able to race more of whatever it is. I have just done my same training routine that I’ve done for the past three years and it keeps me busy, but, yeah, I wish I was racing more. I got really sick after Bristol, but I am all good now and ready to get going again. The long breaks definitely really suck, especially since it’s right after our eight week stretch, so hopefully in the future I hope that’s a little different. I know next year I have hopefully planned a lot of races to keep me busy. I’m excited for that.”

YOU WON AN ARCA RACE AT TALLADEGA IN 2018 AND HOMESTEAD IS AFTER THAT. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THESE NEXT TWO RACES? “That was a really cool experience winning at Talladega in an ARCA car and a super exciting finish. The ARCA races, back then we still actually raced pretty hard. There was at least two lanes. I feel like now it’s mostly single-file, but the trucks are just way different with how big the runs are that you get and just obviously way more competition. I just got a glimpse of what I had at Daytona and I was happy with my truck for the most part. It played out really good for us, so obviously we’re bringing back that same truck and hopefully do the same thing.”

IS THERE A CHANCE YOU WILL RUN PART-TIME XFINITY IN 2023 AND THE DAYTONA 500? “Yeah, right now I have a few races scheduled on the Cup side with Front Row, starting with trying to make it into the Daytona 500. Other than that, we don’t have any races set in stone yet. We’re waiting on a few other dominoes to fall. It’s the same exact deal on the Xfinity side. I’m not really sure who that will be with or what, but we’re trying to put together some Xfinity races, but that goes back to what I was saying, where we’re just trying to stay busy and race more. That’s my main goal for next year.”



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

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