Chandler Smith takes the pole for the second time in 2023 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Atlanta Motor Speedway once again hosted NASCAR Xfinity during the 2023 season for the Alsco Uniforms 200. Last time out, Step One ambassador Chandler Smith started the main event in P6. He was running in the top 10 for much of the race, collecting stage points while on a solid run. Unfortunately, later in the race, the Kaulig Racing driver was forced to retire from the race prematurely due to a car issue.
In this weekend’s iteration, Smith qualified on the pole on Saturday morning, the second pole of his 2023 NASCAR Xfinity season, and led the field to green, holding the lead for the opening laps before relinquishing the lead. He remained at the front of the field throughout stage one with minimal radio comments about the car’s handling, locking in solid stage points at its end. The Kaulig Racing driver then went through pit road for fuel and tires, slicing his way up through the field and climbing from P16 to P5 in only three laps in an incredible display of pace. Smith was up in the podium places not long after this, only departing them in order to pit for more fuel and fresh tires. The end of stage two once more brought a haul of points before the No. 16 Chevy was line astern with his Kaulig Racing teammates in first, second, and third as the final stage began, each flying around the speedway. Despite being shuffled backward to P10 with a little over 50 laps to go, Smith rocketed himself up to P3 in the blink of an eye, settling into a solid rhythm. However, upon the race overtime restart after a caution period, his NASCAR Xfinity machinery was low on fuel and he tumbled down the order, finishing the race in P20. A frustrating end, no doubt, given Smith’s rapidity all weekend, but promising nonetheless for his season to come.
Smith moves onward in his 2023 NASCAR Xfinity campaign to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire (July 15, 2023).