Short track racing in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series is great for two reasons. First, you get a heck of a show on the race track. Second, you get a glance at some of the NASCAR stars of tomorrow, thanks to the sanctioning body allowing 16 and 17 year olds to compete on tracks that aren’t considered a speedway. This week, we get our first look at Chandler Smith.
The 16-year-old prospect has shown dominance at every level to this point in his career, including three ARCA victories in just 13 tries. His latest ARCA win came back in May at Toledo, where he led 140 of a possible 152 laps.
Next up for Smith is a shot in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck — the same entry that has won six of the first nine truck races this year. Five of those wins came with the boss Kyle Busch behind the wheel. Veteran Greg Biffle grabbed the other checkered flag last week in Texas. Now it’s Smith’s turn — the next hot prospect set to deal with the high expectations at Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Busch has been outspoken about his drivers’ lack of success this season. Neither Todd Gilliland or Harrison Burton have found victory lane this season, despite Busch’s five victories this year. Chandler Smith is still two years away from full-time truck competition, but he’s got a shot to audition for one of those prized KBM rides beginning this week.
Smith comes out of the Super Late Model ranks, posting some impressive finishes at an extremely young age in some crown jewel events. He won CRA SpeedFest in Cordele, Georgia and has two top three finishes in the Winchester 400 already. Smith also has a 5th, 6th and 7th place finish in the Snowball Derby.
Smith was able to put down 250 laps at Iowa in a rookie test earlier in the year, so he’s not going in totally blind. His 2019 truck series schedule includes Bristol, Gateway and Phoenix later in the year. Each race will be in either the No. 46 or No. 51 for KBM.
His Super Late Model schedule will continue this year as well. Smith will be looking for wins in the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby.