Trackin’ Trucks: Chandler Smith Wins at Bristol

Credit: Brian Laudermilk

Chandler Smith earned his first career Camping World Truck Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday night, securing his spot in the Round of 8 for the series championship. 

Smith battled with reigning champion Sheldon Creed in the final laps of the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics, refusing to give up the position once he was in the lead. 

Smith and Creed made contact on the Lap 196 restart and the driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet faded with a cut left-rear tire. Creed finished in the 19th position. 

“I‘m speechless right now,” Smith said after climbing from his truck. “I‘ve really been tested this last year or two and tested my faith. I have to thank everyone behind me… This is just incredible. It finally paid off. I‘m just so happy right now.”

Grant Enfinger finished second, John Hunter Nemechek earned third, while Stewart Friesen and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top five. 

Carson Hocevar finished sixth, while Matt Crafton, Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, and Todd Gilliland finished seventh through 10th place, respectively. 

Gilliland missed the Round of 8 in the Playoffs by two points, after the No. 21 of Smith and No. 99 of Rhodes passed him in the closing laps. 

“I really don‘t know what happened,” Gilliland said. “They both slipped by me—the 21 (Zane Smith) and the 99 (Ben Rhodes). I‘m just heartbroken. To miss by two points there—it really, really stings. Just heartbroken.”

Austin Hill also was eliminated from advancing after wrecking on Lap 189. 

“I was just trying to get in line.” said Hill outside the infield care center, “Spotter told me he was coming and that he was there.”

“Kind of went down a little bit just to kind of see if I could spook him a little bit.” Hill continued, “I misjudged. I came down too much.”

A Look Ahead into the Playoffs

The Camping World Truck Series Playoffs continue with the second round in Las Vegas, where Hill is the defending winner of the fall race one year ago. 

The Round of 8 Playoff standings line up as follows: 

  1. John Hunter Nemechek 
  2. Sheldon Creed                    -24
  3. Ben Rhodes                         -31
  4. Zane Smith                          -41
  5. Chandler Smith                   -44
  6. Matt Crafton                        -46
  7. Carson Hocevar                  -48
  8. Stewart Friesen                   -49

Nemechek won at the 1.5-mile track in the spring. Can he sweep at the track and secure his position in the Championship 4 at Phoenix? 

Find out on Friday, September 24th at 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. 

Trackin’ Trucks: Chandler Smith Wins at Bristol Trackin’ Trucks: Chandler Smith Wins at Bristol Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Friday, September 17, 2021 Rating: 5