Chandler Smith fights at the front in Talladega before late-race wreck takes him out of the running
Chandler Smith, Step One Motorsports ambassador, carried onward from two different Virginia tracks to Alabama, for a weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR Xfinity first raced at the asphalt oval in 1992, and it has been a staple on the series’ calendar ever since. Drivers complete a three-stage race covering 300.38 miles (483.74 km) at average speeds of over 120 miles per hour (193 kilometers per hour). Covering 2.66 miles (4.28 kilometers) a total of 113 times is no small feat and it’s one Smith tackled head-on.
Smith qualified P11 for Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300, and upon the race start he executed a number of impressive overtaking maneuvers that moved him up through the field. Smith was on a charge and on lap 21, he found himself leading the race. The Kaulig driver eventually finished the first stage in P8 and earned stage points for his efforts. After a long stop that saw him with new tires, fuel, and a new radio, he rejoined from the back of the field. Smith wasn’t there for long, however, and made swift progress up the order once again. When the second stage ended under caution, Smith was in P2 and collected even more stage points. According to Kaulig Racing, the team planned to set him up for success in the final stage by making several trackbar adjustments to his No. 16 Chevy. Smith’s strong pace continued into the closing laps of the race, despite right-side damage repair in the pits sending him down the order once more, but on lap 112 when he’d nearly made it through a wreck ahead, he received a heavy impact. This hit took Smith out of the race, and he ended up classified in P25. Smith was cleared by the medical team, most importantly, and stated that a positive takeaway was once more putting the No. 16 car in contention with time toward the front of the pack, which will certainly be a boost for both driver and team.
Smith’s NASCAR Xfinity season will progress to Delaware’s Dover Motor Speedway where he’ll compete once more in just seven days’ time (April 28 to April 29, 2023).