Chandler Smith

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Brett Moffitt wins opening Truck playoff race at Bristol

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Reigning champion Brett Moffitt opened the Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs by winning the caution-filled race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday night.

Moffitt’s third victory of the season advances him to the next round.

MORE: Click here for race results

MORE: Click here for driver points

“It’s a huge weight lifted off our shoulders,” Moffitt said of the win. “We’ll go to the next two, try to win them and get as many playoff points as possible and focus on the Round of 6.”

Chandler Smith finished second. He was followed by Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen and Grant Enfinger.

Stage 1 winner: Ross Chastain

Stage 2 winner: Brett Moffitt

Who had a good race: In just his third career series start, 17-year-old Chandler Smith finished a career-high second for Kyle Busch Motorsports. … Ross Chastain won a stage and finished third, overcoming a pit road penalty.

Who had a bad race: Natalie Decker got spun by the tow truck as her truck was being pushed away during a caution. She finished 25th. … Johnny Sauter was involved in multiple cautions and finished 11th. … Tyler Ankrum finished 20th, worst among the eight playoff drivers. 

Next: The series races Aug. 25 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Preliminary entry lists for Bristol Motor Speedway

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NASCAR returns to “Thunder Valley” this week for its series of night races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

All three national series will compete on the half-mile track, including the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in its playoff opener.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 39 cars on the entry list.

Last year this race was won by Kurt Busch over Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Kurt and his brother Kyle Busch have combined to win the last four Bristol races.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN)

There are 42 cars on the entry list. With a full field set at 38 cars, four cars will not make the event.

Kyle Busch is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for his sixth and of seven Xfinity starts of the season.

Erik Jones is entered in XCI Racing’s No. 81 Toyota. It would be his first Xfinity start since 2017.

Joe Graf Jr is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet.

Kyle Larson won this race last year over Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – UNOH 200 (8:30 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1)

There are 37 trucks entered for the event. A full field is 32 trucks, meaning five won’t make the event.

John Hunter Nemechek is entered in NEMCO Motorsport’s No. 8 Chevrolet. This would be his first start of the season.

Dylan Lupton is entered in DGR-Crosley’s No. 15 Toyota.

Ryan Sieg is entered in Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 33 Chevrolet for the second time this year.

Angela Ruch is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet.

Chandler Smith is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman is entered in Henderson Motorsports’ No. 75 Chevrolet. This would be just the second race of the year for the team (Atlanta).

Timothy Peters is entered in Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises’ No. 92 Ford. This will be Peters’ fourth race of the year.

This race was was last year by Johnny Sauter over Stewart Friesen and Nemechek.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Ross Chastain wins Truck Series race at Gateway, passes inspection

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Ross Chastain beat Todd Gilliland in a seven-lap shootout to win Saturday night’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The win comes a week after a post-race inspection failure resulted in Chastain’s win at Iowa Speedway being given to Brett Moffitt. He passed inspection Saturday night.

The top five was completed by Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith and Moffitt.

Chastain led 21 laps. He took the lead during green flag pit stops when his Niece Motorsports team elected to take fuel only.

“These guys went home and we were mad,” Chastain told FS1. “Felt like we had one taken from us. Holy cow. … They believed in me. I didn’t want to take tires. Then it was up to me to freaking hold them off, I don’t know how.”

Chastain, who switched his points declaration from Xfinity to Trucks after eight races in the Truck season, must be in the top 20 in points to qualify for the playoffs. He is now 38 points behind Josh Reaume in 20th.

Chastain is also winner of the final “Triple Truck Challenge” $50,000 bonus.

“Oh, I’m going to take that money home and they’re not going to take it from us,” Chastain said.

The final restart was setup by a wreck involving Harrison Burton and Sheldon Creed.

Chastain restarted ahead of Christian Eckes, who had 57 laps. Eckes spun from contact on the last lap while racing Gilliland and Friesen. He finished 14th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

MORE: Click here for race results

MORE: Click here for the point standings

WHAT’S NEXT: Camping World 225 at Chicagoland Speedway at 9 p.m. ET on June 28 on FS1

After ARCA win and strong Truck debut, Chandler Smith ready for more at Gateway

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Chandler Smith turns 17 on June 26, but there’s little doubt the Georgia native is quickly proving he knows how to successfully wheel a race car or race truck.

Last Saturday, Smith earned his fourth career ARCA win – in just 14 total starts in the series – in Madison, Wisconsin, for Venturini Motorsports.

Just over 12 hours later, Smith made his Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut by starting on the pole (due to being fastest in first practice when second practice and qualifying were both rained out) in the M&Ms 200 race for Kyle Busch Motorsports, led 55 laps and ultimately finished eighth (he may have finished higher if not for a pit road penalty that sent him to the tail end of the field).

So what does the resident of tiny Talking Rock, Georgia — population 69 — do for an encore? Double duty again in both ARCA and Trucks events this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (formerly Gateway Motorsports Park), that’s what.

Smith is looking forward to both races, particularly the next step in his evolution with KBM, for whom he’s driving a limited schedule in both Trucks and super late models.

It’s very humbling to have all of these opportunities on the table and I can pick and choose what pathway I am going to take,” Smith said in a media release. “I am grateful for all of the people around me.

I have finally gotten to the age and the maturity when I realize this is a big deal. There is no one I know that is my age that has the opportunities I have. I have some bigger opportunities than some Cup drivers right now. I am really trying to stay humble about it.”

Busch has high expectations for the young drivers that pilot his trucks, and Smith is not excluded from that category even with just one start to date.

I don’t think it adds pressure at all,” Smith said. “When you have drivers that aren’t winning in the very best stuff, he has a valid point. If I don’t do good, I would go up and ask him what I did wrong. I will deserve it. I want to make sure I am aware of what I am doing wrong so I can fix it.”

Saturday will be one of the longest race days – an estimated 14 hours, all told (barring any weather issues) the teenager has experienced to date. He has two ARCA practices, qualifying and the 120 laps/150 miles Day to Day Coffee 150 race at 7:30 p.m. ET. He also has two Truck practices, qualifying and a 160 laps/200 miles CarShield 200 race at 10 p.m. ET.

I think it’s going to be all mental,” said Smith, who has never been in the St. Louis area and may not know about it’s notorious heat and humidity at times. “You are going to have to want to have the drive to do it. If you are like ‘oh my gosh, I have to do that?’ because if you have that attitude you are going to suck at it.

I’ve never been to the track before. I know you need to be patient and hit your marks there. There is definitely going to be a big learning curve. I have never raced on a track like that before. I have practiced there a little on the simulator. I have a good bit of laps under me and I have a general idea so when we get there so I will know what to do.”

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Preliminary entry lists for Cup at Sonoma, Trucks at Gateway

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After a week off, the NASCAR Cup Series is back in action this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, just north of San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis.

The Xfinity Series enjoys this weekend off before it returns at Chicagoland Speedway on June 29.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for this weekend’s Cup and Truck races:

Cup – Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1)

There are 38 cars entered for the race around the twisting road course in Napa Valley’s wine country.

JJ Yeley will make his second Cup start of the season, driving the No. 51 Petty Ware Racing Ford.

Cody Ware will be back in the No. 52 Ford for Rick Ware Racing.

Justin Haley will make his second career Cup start, piloting the No. 77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports.

NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman will make his seventh start of the Cup season in the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

 

Trucks – Gateway 200 (10 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

A total of 32 trucks are entered in this race.

Johnny Sauter will miss the race due to a suspension from NASCAR for his actions at Iowa Speedway. ThorSport Racing has not announced a substitute driver yet.

There is no driver listed yet for the No. 0 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Chevrolet or  Beaver Motorsports’ No. 1 Chevrolet

Camden Murphy makes his second start of the season, driving the No. 8 Nemco Motorsports Chevrolet.

Daniel Sasnett makes his second start of the season, piloting the No. 32 Reaume Brothers Racing Chevrolet.

Bryant Barnhill makes his first start of the season and second of his Truck career in the No. 34 Reaume Brothers Racing Chevrolet.

Kyle Benjamin makes his third start of the season, driving the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet.

Following his Truck Series debut at Iowa, Chandler Smith will drive the No. 46 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Christian Eckes makes his second Truck start of the season, piloting the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

Follow @JerryBonkowski