For the first time in Kyle Busch Motorsport driver Chandler Smith’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, he’s the driver points standings leader.
With his big win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 19-year-old jumped from sixth in the series’ points to first, and now holds a five-point margin over Team DGR’s Tanner Gray in second and 15 points up on ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski in third place. The Vegas victory was his first Camping World Truck Series win at the 1.5-mile facility and the third of his series career.
Smith will look to hold onto his spot atop the standings lead at the newly redone Atlanta Motor Speedway, when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action on Saturday, March 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET (on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for the Fr8 208 race. Smith made his Truck Series track debut at Atlanta last season, but he struggled starting 11th and finishing 35th.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Fr8 208
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, March 19
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $669,442
TV: FS1, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 208 miles (135 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 135)
2021 Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Matt DiBenedetto has Rackley W.A.R running upfront early
Rackley W.A.R. and Matt DiBenedetto are off to great start for 2022, with back-to-back top-10 finishes to open the season at Daytona (10th) and Las Vegas (sixth). It’s the best start to a season for Rackley W.A.R. since joining the series last year and the first time the team has posted multiple top-10 finishes in a season.
DiBenedetto’s experience has been a certain boost to the organization this season. The 30-year-old from Grass Valley, California spent the last seven seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series refining his skills and working with teams like Leavine Family Racing and the famed Wood Brothers Racing.
Though in his first season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he has meshed quite quickly with crew chief Chad Kendrick and the No. 25 Chevrolet team. The two jumped eight spots in the series driver standings with their performance at Las Vegas and now are ranked sixth just 29 points back from the standings lead.
Next week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, DiBenedetto will be making his Truck Series track debut at the recently reconfigured 1.54-mile track. Though, the veteran does have seven NASCAR Cup Series starts at the track posting one top-10 finish.
Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith has some rebounding to do
After nearly winning last week’s Las Vegas Motor Speedway race, Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith crossed the finish line runner-up, but his No. 38 Ford failed post-race inspection and his result was disqualified. Smith instead finished last (36th), and now the Californian has dropped from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points lead to 12th in the driver standings; 40 points behind Chandler Smith in the standings lead.
When the series returns to the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Zane Smith will have his work cut out for him. The 22-year-old is locked into the Playoffs thanks to his win in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, but that all is contingent if he can stay in the top-20 in points and competes fulltime in the series.
Look for Smith to rebound when the series returns to Atlanta, in two starts he has put up one top-five and two top 10s. His average finish at the 1.54-mile track is a solid 5.5.
Team DGR has Tanner Gray off to best start to a season in his career
In his third season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Team DGR, Tanner Gray is off to the best start to a season in his career after posting two top-five finishes in as many races. Now the North Carolina native finds himself second in the series driver standings – the highest Gray has ranked in the points in his series career – just five points back from series standings leader Chandler Smith.
Gray’s previous best career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings position was fourth last week following Daytona, but prior to that it was 12th in 2020.
In 2022, Gray has been paired with veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter. The duo has been quick from the drop of the green flag; finishing fourth to open the season at Daytona and then followed it up with a fifth-place finish last weekend at Las Vegas.
Looking to Atlanta, Gray has made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the track posting an average finish of 15.0.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie Class Update: Dean Thompson wins rookie of the race at Vegas – Through two races the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have been led by Niece Motorsports’ Lawless Alan (with 30 points), followed by Dean Thompson (-3), Jack Wood (-14), Corey Heim (-18) and Blaine Perkins (-22). Alan won the Rookie of the Race award for Daytona and Thompson won it at Las Vegas.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is up next for Trucks – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to the newly repaved and reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 19 for the Fr8 208 (on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as part of a doubleheader afternoon with the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the Nalley Cars 250, at 5 p.m. ET.
Atlanta Motor Speedway has hosted 20 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but since the series has last been there the track has undergone a reprofiling and now more resembles a quad-oval layout. Also, as part of the updates, the banking was increased in the turns from 24 to 28 degrees. The banking will remain at five degrees on the straights. Additionally, the racing surface will become narrower with an overall decrease in width from 55 feet to 40 feet. The new widths will be 52 feet on the front stretch, 42 feet on the back stretch and 40 feet in the turns.
Since this will be the first time the series has competed on the new track teams will have 50 minutes of practice on Friday, March 18 at 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET. Qualifying will take place on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 a.m. ET.