Toyota Racing NCWTS Post-Race Recap -- Bristol 9.16.21

CHANDLER SMITH, No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports--Finishing Position: 1st--How do you feel getting your first career Truck Series victory?--“God is good, God is so damn good. I’ve really been tested here in the last year or two. Tested my faith and I’ve kept it. This is unbelievable. I can’t thank everyone behind me. Safelite, Toyota, KBM, Kyle Busch (team owner) – everybody, Jack Irving (TRD). This is incredible, I’m speechless right now.”

Were you starting to wonder if you would get a win in this series?

“I feel like truck racing is definitely the hardest out of all three series right now. In 2019, I felt like I was really, really good. Nothing’s changed about me, the competition has just gotten harder. Had to go to work and do a lot more. More studying and it finally paid off. God is just so good and I’m just so happy. This is unbelievable.”

What was going through your mind when you knew you had to win to transfer in the Playoffs?

“2019. That’s all I’ve been talking about all weekend is what I would do different in 2019 on that restart because of how damn hard these truck races are to win. It came down to it and I’ve beeen preparing myself all week for it. Just got a good launch. I can’t thank everybody enough that’s on this Safelite Toyota. This has been a heck of a journey and my faith has definitely been tested. Just keep on digging.”

How do you approach the next round of the Playoffs?

“I think everybody’s confidence is really high now for sure. I definitely think we’re going to be pretty good going into the next round.”


STEWART FRIESEN, No. 52 Halmar International Toyota Tundra, Halmar Friesen Racing

Finishing Position: 4th

How has your race team been so consistent early in the Playoffs?

“Race to race for sure. Thanks to Chris Larson, Halmar and everybody at home watching in my living room, really appreciate you guys. We’re coming back this weekend for Fonda, big race weekend for us. We had a really good truck tonight, just didn’t have really good long run speed. Probably some stuff that I was doing that I need to clean up. Got a good restart at the end and just about had a pretty good catastrophe there and tried to get a little too much getting around the 42 on a restart. Thought we were going to get good and just tagged the wall and were probably a quarter-of-an-inch from a flat right front. We’ll take it. The Tundra was awesome again tonight and my guys are on point. Looking forward to keeping it rolling the rest of the season. Thanks to all of our Northeast Modified fans, we appreciate the support.”


MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Great Lakes/Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing

Finishing Position: 7th

What were you lacking at the end of the race to battle for the win?

“I don’t know. I just couldn’t take off like they were. There at the end I just tried to keep taking big runs and see what I could do about it. I don’t know if I was doing something wrong or didn’t have the acceleration. Just struggled on it for whatever reason, we were off tonight mainly on land. We would have to wait on land and if I backed the corner up then they would run me over on entry. Like I said, definitely not the night we wanted. The Menards Toyota Tundra will be ready in  Vegas and it will be go time again.”

BEN RHODES, No. 99 Bombardier LearJet 75 Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing

Finishing Position: 9th

How was the race tonight?

“I think this race shaved a few years off my life. That was stressful racing. You look at the 38 (Todd Gilliland) being on the outside now and I think we finished one or two spots ahead of him. With the 18 (Chandler Smith) winning the race, it made it to where we had to finish ahead of those guys. Just really close and not exactly how we wanted out race to go. We wanted to get some stage points and do all these things to make it easy on ourselves and we just weren’t as fast as we needed this Bombardier Tundra to be tonight. We have to go back and improve because right now how we’re running is not the way to win the championship and get to the final four. We have some work on our side, but the good news is that we’re on to bigger race tracks where teammates are an advantage and we’ve got strength in numbers at ThorSport with Talladega, Las Vegas and some big race tracks where it’s good to have friends. We just have to have a good meeting Monday morning and say what we need to work on and get better.”

AUSTIN HILL, No. 16 AISIN Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises

Finishing Position: 24th

What happened in the accident that took you out of the Playoffs?

“I was just trying to get in line and my spotter told me that he was coming and he was there. Kind of went down a little bit to see if I could spook him a little bit and maybe make him lift and I misjudged it. I came down too much and then as soon as he got into me, it just takes all the rear stability out of it and off we went. I hate that we tore up all those other race trucks and I hope everybody ended up alright. It’s all on me. I let my team down. They brought me a hot rod to Bristol, a place we’re not very good at. We sped on pit road and just choked it, what else do you say. We go on to next year. Don’t know what next year looks like yet, but hopefully I’m with these guys and I can redeem myself for them and this organization because they deserve better than what they got tonight. We’ll see.”
















*non-Toyota driver

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2021, Issue 9, Posted 1:13 AM, 09.17.2021