Motorsport News

Chandler Smith Stays Hot at Richmond, Joey Gase Loses His Cool

Nascar Xfinity Series

Chandler Smith led a Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota brigade to claim his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season at Richmond Raceway.

Smith took the lead over Cole Custer after pitting for fresh tires several laps earlier during the final caution of the day. He never looked back, lapping cars through 10th place by the end of the race.

Fellow JGR teammates Aric Almirola and Taylor Gray came home second and third, respectively. Corey Heim was fourth and Jesse Love rounded out the top five.


Toyota as a whole performed a feat that it hadn’t done since 2012 at Dover Motor Speedway: sweeping the top four positions. Its drivers dominated the event, leading 186 of the 250 laps.

Smith and Almirola led the most laps, staying out front for 76 and 95 circuits, respectively.

The victor scored his second consecutive win at the Action Track after earning his first career win there in 2023. He’s now atop the points standings, edging Austin Hill by just 10 points. In fact, Smith and Hill are pretty much dead even statistically in the first six events, with each earning two wins, five top fives and six top 10s. Both also have an average finish of 3.3. It’s rather interesting, considering they compete for two different teams and manufacturers. Hill finished eighth at Richmond.

While the performance by JGR and Toyota is quite remarkable, what’s perhaps even more impressive is the talent of TRICON Garage’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Gray. He came home with a podium finish in his first Xfinity race after qualifying 27th. If Gray can battle with other Xfinity regulars and finish third, then he could actually visit victory lane in one of his next NXS starts.

Speaking of debuts, how about Bubba Pollard, running for JR Motorsports for the first time in Xfinity at 37 years old? The late model racer started in the back after a rough qualifying round. Though it took him a bit to get the hang of things, he was able to finally get in a groove and move forward, eventually finishing sixth. Gray and Pollard show that no matter how young or young at heart you are, you can still get a good result in your first race.

I don’t normally discuss drivers in the teens in this section, but I have to shout out Matt DiBenedetto. In his first Xfinity start since 2019, he earned an 18th after starting 31st. The Viking Motorsports driver appeared to stay out of trouble and keep his racecar clean, which is exactly what he…

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