Chandler Smith celebrates his first win of the season. (David Moulthrop Photo)

Chandler Smith Locks Up Pocono Truck Race

Chandler Smith locked up a dominating performance at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on Saturday, scoring the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in the CRC Brakleen 150. 

The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver won Stage 1, before battling it out with Ryan Preece in the latter stages of the event.

Smith led 49 of the 60 laps, including the final 14 en route to victory. 

Smith celebrates on the frontstretch. (Dennis Bicksler Photo)

“God is good. It’s God’s timing. We’ve been going through a bit of a struggle here recently, but just when we need to start shining, we start shining,” Smith said. “I can’t thank everyone enough. This ChargeMe Toyota was fast today. It was really good. We were a little tight. Had some trouble getting through the gears. Sorry to the 51 (Corey Heim) team, but also thank you to the 51 team. This win is as much mine as it is yours. Just can’t thank the Good Lord enough. I’m about to have a baby boy soon and this is for you when you look back at this.”

With Pocono being the last race before the Truck Series playoffs begin, there was a heavy dose of jubilation, and heartbreak. 

Zane Smith, after notching three victories this season, earned the regular season championship for Front Row Motorsports. 

“Honestly, I just have to give huge props to FRM and all our sponsors throughout the regular season,” Smith said. “The team has brought me some really fast Ford’s this year. Today was a major struggle though. We started out from the green flag to pretty much the end of stage 2, our throttle was sticking and everything we were doing wasn’t fixing it. I was a little worried there at times because I knew that I just had to have a couple of points and then you see the 18 up there as well. A long, long day once we did get it right we still fought a really tight truck. But there is no giving up. This race is just so short to try to get your truck right. I am glad we are on to the playoffs and ready to get that started.”

It was a triumphant return to the playoffs for both Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger, who locked into the post-season with solid finishes at the Tricky Triangle.

Heartbreak came for Derek Kraus, after missing out on the playoffs by 17 points. 

Preece would hang on and finish 2nd, with Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim finishing 3rd and 4th, respectively. 

Carson Hocevar rounded out the top five in 5th. 

In his 800th and final start in NASCAR National competition, Todd Bodine’s day ended early, after crashing in Stage 1. 

The first round of the Truck Series playoffs will begin next weekend at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. 

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