NASCAR Truck: Chandler Smith dominates regular-season finale

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LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 23: Chandler Smith, driver of the #18 Charge Me Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series CRC Brakleen 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2022 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA – JULY 23: Chandler Smith, driver of the #18 Charge Me Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series CRC Brakleen 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2022 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Chandler Smith dominated the CRC Brakleen 150, the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular-season finale, Saturday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. After leading 49 of the 60 laps that made up the race, he claimed his second win of the season and continued a recent dominance of Kyle Busch Motorsports at Pocono, giving the organization its seventh win in the last eight races there.

“We’ve been going through a little bit of a struggle here recently, but just when we needed to shine, we start shining,” Smith said. “Can’t thank KBM; this Charge Me Toyota Tundra was fast today. It was really good. It was a little tight, had problems getting through the gears.”

Ryan Preece finished second after taking the lead from Smith on lap 42 but losing it on a restart with 14 laps remaining after the fifth and final caution for Spencer Boyd.

KBM drivers claimed three of the top-four finishing positions. Smith’s teammates John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim finished third and fourth, respectively.

Carson Hocevar rounded out the top-five.

Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton claimed the two remaining spots in the 10-driver playoff field that already included Zane Smith, Nemechek, Chandler Smith, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes and Hocevar. Crafton finished 15th after a slow pit when his truck fell off the jack halfway through the race. Enfinger finished 17th.

Chandler Smith won the first 15-lap stage after starting alongside pole sitter Zane Smith on the front row and taking the lead on lap one. Zane Smith started on the pole after rain resulted in the cancellation of qualifying Friday.

Most of the first stage ran under caution because of three early-race yellow flags — the first for Jack Wood on lap one, the second for Dean Thompson on lap seven, and the third on lap 12 when Todd Bodine wrecked and collected Tyler Hill and Wood.

After losing the lead on lap one, Zane Smith ran second to Chandler Smith most of the stage but fell to sixth after a lap-11 restart. Even so, Zane Smith clinched the regular-season title and the 15 bonus points that go with it at the end of the opening stage.

Zane Smith made an extra pit stop late in the race during which his hood went up for repairs to a throttle issue. He wound up with a 13th-place finish.

“I knew I only had to get a couple of points,” Zane Smith said. “Long day. Fought a really tough truck. I’m glad we’re on to the playoffs and ready to get this season started.”

Chandler Smith continued up front to lead most of the second 15-lap stage but gave up the lead to under green late in the stage. Eckes inherited the lead and claimed the stage win at lap 30.

After a caution-filled stage one, stage two ran caution-free.

Chandler Smith was back up front for the second half of the race after the round of pit stops completed during the caution that followed stage two.

Finishing the race sixth through 10th were Austin Hill, Majeski, Eckes, Derek Kraus and Tanner Gray.