Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced Monday that Chandler Smith will compete for the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship behind the wheel of the organization’s No. 18 Tundra. Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement, and recalibration services returns to KBM for a fourth season and will adorn the hood of Smith’s Tundra for 15 races.
The 2021 season will mark the Georgia native’s third season with KBM but first full-time effort. Smith made his Truck Series debut driving the No. 51 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra at Iowa Speedway in June 2019. After qualifying was washed out, he started from the pole based on owner’s points and remained up front for the first 55 laps of the race before bringing his Toyota home eighth.
The Toyota Development Driver has finished inside the top five in half of his 16 career Camping World Truck Series starts, including a career-best runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August 2019. Smith posted an average finish of 7.7 across his final seven of 12 total Truck Series starts in 2020, including third-place finishes in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway and his first career superspeedway start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October.
“Since I started racing at a young age, I’ve worked hard towards my goal of getting to compete full time in NASCAR, so being named to drive the Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and being able to chase a championship in the Camping World Truck Series next year is very rewarding,” Smith said. “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.
“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!”
“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 gate 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.
“We appreciate Safelite’s continued support during these unprecedented times and look forward to having a contingent of their employees and customers touring the Truck Series garage proudly in their red and black crew shirts this season.”
“We’re very excited to welcome Chandler to the Safelite family,” said Safelite AutoGlass Senior Vice President Garth Beck. “We know he is a championship-caliber driver with many strong races at KBM under his belt over the last few years while driving a part-time schedule. We think he is a great fit to drive the Safelite Toyota Tundra for the 2021 season and very much look forward to cheering him on to victory next year.”
Smith has recorded nine wins, 10 poles and an average finish of 5.3 across 33 career ARCA Menards Series starts the last three seasons. He captured the pole in his series debut at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (Tenn.) in April of 2018 and set an ARCA Menards Series record by winning four consecutive poles to start his career. He earned his first victory at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in just his fourth series start in June of 2018. Despite running a part-time schedule, he led the series in laps led in both 2018 and 2019.
Further sponsorship announcements and who will serve as Smith’s crew chief are forthcoming.