Chandler Smith activates clutch gene, wins UNOH 200

Chandler Smith entered Friday’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway as the ninth of ten drivers and needed a win to advance to the next round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. In a dramatic five-lap restart, he did just that as he held off the dominant truck of Sheldon Creed and got some help from Kyle Busch Motorsports team-mate John Hunter Nemechek to win his maiden Truck race.

Creed, who hoped to sweep the Round of 10 by winning all three races, started on the pole and quickly asserted his dominance by leading every lap in the first two stages. When Carson Hocevar finally marked the first “lead change” of the night by staying out under caution before Stage #3, Creed had led a career-best 116 straight laps; his previous best was 114 en route to his Gateway win two rounds prior.

While Creed led the way throughout the first two segments, trucks behind him began wrecking quickly with three cautions coming out in Stage #1. The first yellow flag came after two laps when Sam Mayer spun while racing Spencer Boyd, with Howie DiSavino III and Josh Reaume also taking damage. Tanner Gray and Boyd also brought out cautions with spins of their own, the latter once again tangling with DiSavino. By the end of the stage, Creed led Austin Hill, Matt Crafton, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Hocevar, Stewart Friesen, Todd Gilliland, Tyler Ankrum, and Johnny Sauter; Enfinger, Ankrum, and Sauter were non-playoff drivers.

Lap 69 was not very nice as eight drivers were involved in a frontstretch crash: Drew Dollar got loose off turn four while racing Enfinger and Chase Purdy, causing him to go sideways and clip Cory Roper, triggering a pile-up as Tate Fogleman, Dawson Cram, and DiSavino drove into him. Lawless Alan attempted to dodge the stationary Dollar and spun after diving to the inside. The accident resulted in a red flag that lasted six minutes, twenty-three seconds before resumption.

By the end of Stage #2, Creed led Ankrum, Hill, Zane and Chandler Smith, Nemechek, Friesen, Enfinger, Parker Kligerman, and Crafton. Enfinger and Kligerman are both part-time drivers and thus not in playoff contention.

Although Hocevar snapped Creed’s lead between stages, it did not last long as he eventually pulled ahead on the restart. On lap 129, Kligerman spun after contact with Hailie Deegan while Clay Greenfield also went around. Another accident involving Purdy, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Taylor Gray, and Zane Smith on lap 154 resulted in a yellow as well.

On the ensuing lap 164 green flag, Nemechek broke up the Creed/Hocevar front row to take second from the latter. Seven laps later, Kligerman spun on his own, setting up a restart and battle between Creed and Nemechek. The two ran side-by-side before Creed cleared him on lap 179, though another reprieve came moments later for Austin Wayne Self‘s spin. While Creed still led, Chandler Smith pounced on the restart to claim second from Nemechek.

A larger crash took place two laps later when Hill was clipped by Josh Berry into the inside wall and bounced up into Deegan, destroying their trucks and collecting Alan and Self. The accident eliminated Hill from the playoffs.

Creed and Smith, respectively on the outside and inside, paced the field to the final restart with six laps left. The two ran side-by-side before contact sent Creed up and into the wall which Nemechek capitalised upon to take the lead. However, Nemechek slowed and his team-mate passed by, which enabled Smith to lock himself into the Round of 8.

Gilliland finished tenth but joined Hill as the two eliminated drivers. Despite leading a career-high 190 laps, the contact and eventual spin from a downed tyre resulted in him placing nineteenth and two laps down. Whelen Modified Tour great Doug Coby finished twelfth in his maiden national series start.

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 7 18 Chandler Smith Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota 200 Running
2 6 98 Grant Enfinger ThorSport Racing Toyota 200 Running
3 2 4 John Hunter Nemechek Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota 200 Running
4 5 52 Stewart Friesen Halmar Friesen Racing Toyota 200 Running
5 13 13 Johnny Sauter ThorSport Racing Toyota 200 Running
6 8 42 Carson Hocevar Niece Motorsports Chevrolet 200 Running
7 4 88 Matt Crafton ThorSport Racing Toyota 200 Running
8 9 21 Zane Smith GMS Racing Chevrolet 200 Running
9 11 99 Ben Rhodes ThorSport Racing Toyota 200 Running
10 3 38 Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 200 Running
11 17 25 Josh Berry* Rackley WAR Chevrolet 200 Running
12 30 24 Doug Coby GMS Racing Chevrolet 200 Running
13 15 19 Derek Kraus McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Toyota 200 Running
14 16 22 Austin Wayne Self AM Racing Chevrolet 200 Running
15 20 9 Colby Howard* CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet 200 Running
16 26 40 Ryan Truex Niece Motorsports Chevrolet 200 Running
17 32 56 Timmy Hill Hill Motorsports Chevrolet 200 Running
18 25 45 Lawless Alan Niece Motorsports Chevrolet 200 Running
19 1 2 Sheldon Creed GMS Racing Chevrolet 198 Running
20 37 04 Cory Roper Roper Racing Ford 198 Running
21 14 75 Parker Kligerman Henderson Motorsports Chevrolet 197 Running
22 39 32 Sam Mayer* Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet 193 Running
23 34 11 Clay Greenfield Spencer Davis Motorsports Toyota 193 Running
24 10 16 Austin Hill Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota 188 Accident
25 23 1 Hailie Deegan David Gilliland Racing Ford 188 Accident
26 38 33 C.J. McLaughlin Reaume Brothers Racing Toyota 188 Running
27 36 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Ford 188 Running
28 33 3 Howie DiSavino III Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet 169 Electrical
29 35 17 Taylor Gray David Gilliland Racing Ford 156 Accident
30 19 23 Chase Purdy GMS Racing Chevrolet 154 Accident
31 27 20 Spencer Boyd Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet 146 Overheating
32 18 26 Tyler Ankrum GMS Racing Chevrolet 123 Accident
33 22 30 Danny Bohn On Point Motorsports Toyota 70 Accident
34 12 51 Drew Dollar Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota 69 Accident
35 29 41 Dawson Cram Cram Racing Enterprises Chevrolet 69 Accident
36 24 02 Kris Wright # Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet 69 Engine
37 31 12 Tate Fogleman Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet 30 Accident
38 21 15 Tanner Gray David Gilliland Racing Ford 21 Accident
39 40 49 Ray Ciccarelli CMI Motorsprots Ford 15 Rear Gear
40 28 34 Josh Reaume Reaume Brothers Racing Toyota 3 Accident
Bold – Currently in playoffs
Underline – Eliminated from playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Truck points

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