It will be a total new look for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as Chandler Smith will drive the team’s No. 18 Toyota Tundra full-time, joining John Hunter Nemechek as the team’s two driver championship threats.
KBM announced on Monday that the 18-year old Smith would be moving into the No. 18 machine that was piloted by Christian Eckes in 2020.
“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,” Smith said. “I’ve learned a lot from Kyle 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.“
Team owner Kyle Busch believes Smith can put himself in championship contention in his rookie campaign.
“Chandler is following the path that other Toyota Development drivers have in past seasons where they gain valuable experience driving a limited schedule for a couple of seasons and then graduate to running full time for a championship once they are eligible to do so,” Busch said. “He showed that he could run up front on the short tracks right out of the gates in his first season and at the end of this year once he started to understand the aerodynamics of racing on the bigger tracks in the Truck Series, he proved capable of producing top fives no matter where we were racing. Next season, we expect him to continue his progression and be able to turn some of those second and third-place finishes into wins and put himself into the mix for the championship.“
Smith has eight top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 16 starts with KBM in a part-time role over the last two seasons.
According to a team release, Smith will have primary sponsorship from Safelite Auto Glass for 15 races in 2021. Additional sponsorship announcements and the crew chief assignment for the team will be coming in the near future.