The 2021 NASCAR puzzle pieces are steadily falling into place, and the latest one is from the Truck Series. On the back of recruiting John Hunter Nemechek, the Kyle Busch Motorsports team has bagged another signing. To be exact, the outfit has retained Chandler Smith for the coming season. However, the biggest difference is that he is driving the #18 truck on a full-time basis.
As it turns out, this is his third season with the Truck Series team, but his maiden full-time gig. Speaking of his debut, Smith got his first big break in the Truck Series with the #51 truck in 2019. His career-best finish was a second-place at Bristol, and he even started on pole in his debut race.
Out of his 16 Truck starts, he has found himself in the top five on multiple occasions. In 2020, Chandler Smith bagged third-place finishes at the Phoenix Raceway and at the Talladega Superspeedway.
Speaking about the role expansion, he said, “Since I started racing at a young age, I’ve worked hard towards my goal of getting to compete full time in NASCAR, so being named to drive the Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and being able to chase a championship in the Camping World Truck Series next year is very rewarding.
“I’ve learned a lot from Kyle in the last few years, and I’m thankful to be in a position where I can continue to learn from him.
“KBM is a top-notch organization, and I know that with the hard work from everyone in the shop combined with the support from Toyota and TRD that every time we go to the race track we’ll have a chance to compete for wins as long as I do my part.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Busch is confident that Smith will gain valuable experience in the process. The plan was always to give him a couple of seasons as a part-timer, before granting him a full-time gig. According to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Smith showed that he is capable of mixing it up among the leaders.
Throughout his racing career, Smith has nine wins, and 10 poles across 33 career ARCA Menards Series starts. He took pole at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville and set an ARCA Menards Series record. To be precise, he nabbed four consecutive poles to kick-start his career.
Now, Smith will be looking forward to the coming season. His primary objective will be to deliver a decent performance and show the KBM team why they chose him.