Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith finds Victory Lane for the first-time in Xfinity Series
Kaulig Racing rookie Chandler Smith’s hard work finally paid off last weekend at Richmond Raceway as he posted his first career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in just is 10th series start.
The victory was extra sweet for the No. 16 Chevrolet driver after nearly posting his first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month, only to lose the lead in the final lap and ultimately finished third.
“Feels great. This goes to testimony as to Vegas, dominated that race but didn’t win,” said Smith. “It was all in God’s timing. Here we are in Richmond, my favorite racetrack and we’re sitting in Victory Lane.”
As the Xfinity Series rests this weekend while the NASCAR Cup Series and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series head to Bristol for some dirt racing, Smith will get to savor his victory and strategize how to post a back-to-back wins when the series return next week at Martinsville Speedway (April 15).
Smith will be posting his first start at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next week but has given the track a go a couple times in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. In his two starts, he’s posted one top five and two top 10-finishes.
Cashin’ Big Checks: Justin Allgaier grabs first Dash 4 Cash at Richmond
Four drivers competed in the first segment of the 2023 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program last weekend at Richmond Raceway (Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric and Sammy Smith), but it was JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier who dashed his way to the $100,000 big check.
With the Dash 4 Cash win, Allgaier has secured his spot in the second segment of the program at Martinsville Speedway next weekend and will be joined by JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry, Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith and Joe Gibbs Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek.
Allgaier has five starts under his belt at Martinsville, posting three top fives and four top 10s. His most recent finish at the track is fifth last Fall.
Berry is the only driver of the four Dash 4 Cash qualifiers that has posted a Xfinity Series win at Martinsville (2021). In his four starts, he has managed one win, one top five, one top 10 and has led 135 laps. His most recent finish at the track is 20th.
Both Smith and Nemechek will be posting their first Xfinity Series starts at the 0.526-mile short track next weekend.
Eyes On The Prize: Martinsville Edition
Two previous winners are entered in next weekend’s Call811.com Before You Dig 250 at Martinsville Speedway (April 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – JR Motorsports teammates Josh Berry and Brandon Jones.
Berry raced his way to the checkered flag in 2021 after starting from the 29th position. He led 95 of the 250 laps en route to his victory.
Jones snagged his win last season (2022). In his five starts, he’s posted one win, one pole, two top fives, four top 10s and has led 142 laps.
While these drivers will be sure to push for a second win, other drivers will be putting up a fight to post their first on the Martinsville track.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill only has two stints on the short track (2022) but has put up some good numbers. He posted a fourth-place finish at the spring race and a ninth-place finish in the fall race, an impressive finish considering he navigated his way to the front from the 36th position.
JRM’s Sam Mayer has posted a top-10 finish in all three of his Martinsville starts – fourth (2021), fifth and sixth, respectively (2022). The 20-year-old driver has yet to post a Xfinity Series win, so he will be sure to try to land his No. 1 Chevrolet in Victory Lane next weekend.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle continues
The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have seven races under their belts as they take the week off to prepare for some more short track racing at Martinsville Speedway next weekend.
Currently leading the pack is the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ most recent winner, Chandler Smith. The Kaulig Racing driver has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond), four top fives four top 10s. He sits with 253 points; up 50 points on Sammy Smith in second in the rookie standings.
Sliding in next is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith, who also secured his spot in the Playoffs with his first Xfinity Series career win at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. He has racked up 203 points with his one win, two top fives and two top 10s. Smith is up 82 points on third place Parker Retzlaff.
Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff is ranked third in the rookie standings after seven races with 121 points. He has posted one top five and one top 10 this season.
Closing out the rookie standings is Blaine Perkins with 37 points. Perkins has made six starts this season posting a best finish of 22nd at Atlanta Motor Speedway.