Chandler Smith will be the latest Toyota Development Driver to take his turn with a fulltime ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports’ NASCAR Truck organization.
Smith, 18, will compete for the 2021 series title driving KBM’s No. 18 Toyota. Christian Eckes drove the truck during the 2020 season.
Next season will mark Smith’s third driving for KBM, but first as a fulltime competitor. He has made 16 starts over the last two seasons with KBM with a career best finish of second at Bristol, Tenn., in 2019.
Safelite Auto Glass will serve as Smith’s primary sponsor in 15 races.
“I’ve learned a lot from Kyle the last few years, and I’m thankful to be in a position where I can continue to learn from him. KBM is a top-notch organization, and I know that with the hard work from everyone in the shop combined with the support from Toyota and TRD that every time we go to the race track we’ll have a chance to compete for wins as long as I do my part,” Smith said.
“Having been around KBM the last few seasons, I know how much Safelite supports their drivers and their racing program. I’m going to give it my all to get them back to Victory Lane next year and hopefully things will be back to normal where their employees and customers will be able to be there to celebrate with us.”
Smith will join John Hunter Nemechek as new drivers for KBM in 2021 as the organization undergoes several changes.
While Smith has yet to win a NASCAR national series race, he has found much success in the ARCA Menards Series.
He has nine wins, won 10 poles and has an average finish of 5.3 across 33 career ARCA races over the past three seasons. He set a series record by winning the pole in his first four races.
Smith earned his first victory at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in his fourth series start in June 2018. Despite running a part-time schedule, he led the series in laps led in both 2018 and 2019.
“Chandler is following the path that other Toyota Development drivers have in past seasons where they gain valuable experience driving a limited schedule for a couple of seasons and then graduate to running full time for a championship once they are eligible to do so,” Busch said.
“He showed that he could run up front on the short tracks right out of the gates in his first season and at the end of this year once he started to understand the aerodynamics of racing on the bigger tracks in the Truck Series, he proved capable of producing top-fives no matter where we were racing.
“Next season, we expect him to continue his progression and be able to turn some of those second and third-place finishes into wins and put himself into the mix for the championship.”
Additional sponsorship and an announcement of Smith’s crew chief will be made at a later date.
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