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Chandler Smith Driving KBM’s No. 18 in 2021

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Chandler Smith will drive full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2020 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, the team announced Dec. 7.

Smith will pilot the No. 18 previously driven by Christian Eckes.

Safelite Autoglass will sponsor the full-season effort, Smith’s first in the series, for 15 races.

“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 in a team release. “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.”

“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,” team owner Kyle 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.”

Smith joins John Hunter Nemechek, who was previously announced as the driver of the team’s No. 4 in 2021.

Eckes’ plans for 2021 have not yet been announced.

Smith has 16 previous starts in the Truck Series, 12 of which came in 2020 for KBM’s No. 51. He sports eight top fives and nine top 10s. He also has nine wins in 33 starts in the ARCA Menards Series.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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KBM looks much stronger this season.

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