Chandler Smith, who recently became a father for the first time, became a three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner in 2022 as he dominated and cruised to a commanding victory in the Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway.
“Dude, god is so good,” Smith said after he climbed from the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck. “Like you just said, I’m a daddy now. My wife she had such an amazing labor and delivery. We have an amazing beautiful baby boy at home. Honey, this is for you. Junior, this is for you as well.”
Smith, who won Stage 2 in addition to the overall race win, led a race-high 176 laps, including the entire final 175 laps en route to his fifth-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
With the win, the 20-year old driver now moves on to the next round of the NCWTS Playoffs, which means he can race stress free when the Series returns at Kansas Speedway on September 9th for the Round of 10 elimination race.
While Smith likes where he is sitting, currently, he stopped short of calling himself and the No. 18 team the favorites for the championship.
“I’ll leave that to you guys,” Smith said when asked about his Championship hopes. “Just like I said at Media Day, if the good lord wants it to be our championship, it will. If it’s not, it’s not. But I like how everything is going for sure.”
Smith’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate John Hunter Nemechek came home in the runner-up position, and despite only leading one lap on the night, the driver of the No. 4 truck is certainly zeroing in on another win.
Ty Majeski, who was fastest in practice, scored the pole and led the 73 laps on his path to the Stage 1 win, finished the race in third. While it was a tough pill to swallow, due to having incredible speed all day long, Majeski was lucky to finish third.
At the end of the day, Majeski is thankful.
“[My crew chief] Joe [Shear] and I are getting better each and every race,” Majeski said. “We’re so close. I think if we can keep running in the top-three, that win will come. Just super thankful for this opportunity. Love coming out here and having shots to win. That’s all you can ask for as a racecar driver.”
On his first pit stop of the night, Majeski’s jack man Paul Steele collapsed after jumping over the wall. Majeski skidded into Steele’s body, which was laid out on pit road. Steele got up, completed the stop and Majeski dropped from the lead to third.
Considering the chaos on pit road, third has to feel like a good finish for Majeski.
Grant Enfinger, who won the Playoff opener at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, finished in fourth while rookie contender Corey Heim finished fifth.
Taylor Gray, Matt Crafton, Christian Eckes, Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.
Stewart Friesen (11th) and Ben Rhodes (18th) were the two NCWTS Playoff contenders that finished outside the top-10 on Saturday night.
Here are the complete race results from Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway
All-in-all, Saturday’s race at Richmond was a tame one by NASCAR Truck Series standards. There were just three cautions on the night, and only one was for an on-track incident, that coming when Carson Hocevar made contact with Nick Leitz, leading to Leitz backing hard into the outside wall.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series now heads into a four-week hiatus. The Series will return at Kansas Speedway on Friday, September 9th. That race will serve as the elimination race, which will knock two of the 10 Playoff contenders from championship contention.
The race at Kansas Speedway is set for 7:30 PM ET and television coverage will be provided by FS1.