Chandler Smith wants opportunity to chase NASCAR Trucks championship in 2020

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November 21, 2019 03:07 PM

Chandler Smith wants opportunity to chase NASCAR Trucks championship in 2020

The Toyota prospect turns 18 in June and would need a win, consistency and a waiver.

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Before last weekend’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kyle Busch Motorsports confirmed Christian Eckes and Raphael Lessard as its two full-time championship-contending drivers.
But there is another KBM driver that would like to chase the championship should he be approved and meet all the requirements.
Chandler Smith.
Smith will enter every race he is eligible for next season, but he doesn’t turn 18 until June 26, meaning he would miss Daytona, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Homestead, both Texas races and Chicagoland. He would be able to enter Richmond, Dover and Iowa during that time span.
Put simply, he would miss nine of the first 12 races, leaving him seven races to get a win and break into the top 20 in points during the remaining races on his regular season schedule, which also includes Pocono, Kentucky, Eldora and Michigan.
Following his third place effort at Phoenix, Smith isn’t sure if he would receive approval after missing so many races but would definitely want to try it.
“I would definitely want to do it, 100 percent,” Smith said in the media bullpen after that race. “If I would be eligible to do it, I would be all hands on deck to go do it.”

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Smith would be the fourth driver to seek an age waiver after Justin Haley, Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum, the last of which successfully made the playoffs due to his victory at Kentucky Speedway in July.
Smith is a highly regarded Toyota Racing Development prospect, the winner of several prestigious Super Late Model events and seven ARCA Menards Series races in 20 starts over the past two seasons.
He is known to be a quick learner and believes he could contend for a championship next year if he completes a similar learning curve and receives NASCAR approval.
And based on the wording of the rule book, if he wins a race and makes the top 20, there should be nothing that prevents him from being declared eligible based on precedence.
“As much as I accelerated this year, and (Phoenix) was a good day for me experience-wise (and) feeling the air and moving around,” Smith said. “I definitely want to get my feet wet enough where if we were eligible for a championship, I would be right there.”
KBM has yet to announce crew chief alignments for Eckes, Lessard and the third truck. In addition to Smith, team owner and two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is expected to race in the five maximum allowed races due to his status as a Cup Series driver.
Smith posted finishes of eighth, fourth, second and third in his four starts in 2019 with two different crew chiefs.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/nascar-gander-outdoors-truck-series/chandler-smith-wants-opportunity-chase-nascar-trucks

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