Classy Jimmie Johnson Consoles a Heartbroken Zane Smith

Published 11/06/2021, 11:24 AM EDT
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 06, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


The NASCAR Truck Series finally drew the curtains on the 2021 season with the finale at Phoenix. Ben Rhodes seized his maiden championship with a third place finish behind Chandler Smith and Stewart Friesen. Of course, that meant that John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton and Zane Smith lost out.

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Obviously, Smith was pretty gutted to lose out on what could have been his first championship. He took to Twitter to express his disappointment. He wrote, So sorry to everyone. Don’t know what else I could have done different tried everything to hold on. 8 laps short of a championship. P2 thank you GMS Racing & Team Chevrolet for the opportunity. Keep fighting.”

Jimmie Johnson tells Smith to “chin up”

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However, NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson later took to Twitter to send some encouraging messages to the GMS Racing driver. He praised Smith for his incredible effort and the year that he has enjoyed. So, he should not be too disappointed at finishing as the runner-up.

Johnson wrote, “An amazing effort and year, chin up my man.”

How did Zane Smith perform in the race?

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Admittedly, it looked like Smith had it mostly under control in the closing laps of the race. Unfortunately for him, ThorSport driver Ben Rhodes somehow managed to find some extra pace and reeled him in. Soon, the #99 driver passed him to hand himself the advantage in the title race.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – JULY 18: Zane Smith, driver of the #21 LaPaz Margarita Mix Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Vankor 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on July 18, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

However, the day belonged to another Smith, namely Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Chandler Smith. He stormed to victory, taking his second career Truck Series win in the #18 truck. Although Rhodes’ championship triumph overshadowed his win, the rookie was still a happy man.

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Meanwhile, Zane Smith could only muster fifth on the track, with Sheldon Creed between himself and Rhodes. Sadly, Creed was unable to take one for the team and let Smith pass for the championship. As a result, Zane Smith lost out by a mere two points. John Hunter Nemechek was a further two points behind him after finishing in 7th, behind Christian Eckes. Finally, Crafton was all the way down in a disappointing 12th.

DIVE DEEPER

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Dhruv George

12328 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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