By Crystal Clay
LAS VEGAS- Chandler Smith was the fastest qualifying rookie when he won the Pole Award in Friday’s qualifying session for the Alsco Uniforms 300.
He appeared to be a promising bet on Saturday afternoon, but he turned up snake eyes as he drove the No.16 Quick Tie Products Inc. Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing to the checkered flag in third place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With 5 to go, media could be seen gathering around the No.16 Kaulig Racing pit box prepared to capture a winning team’s celebration, but the team was focused on monitors and the jumbotron. The writing was on the wall that leading more than half of the 200 lap race and a great team effort wasn't going to guarantee a trophy.
After the race, “I can’t be too disappointed. It sucks, we just led 115 laps or whatever, and lost it with 2 to go,” said Smith. “We’re going to one of my favorite tracks next weekend and I know that their [Kaulig Racing] stuff was good there last year so, I'm looking forward to that.”
Any race is truly a roll of the dice at the end of the day and he is pleased to roll on to next week at Phoenix, as a top-5 finish doesn’t equate to a complete crap out. “If we ran like a bag of crap today, I would be a different disappointed”, he said.
Smith who finished third and the second place driver, Justin Allgaier said that having to race lapped traffic led to getting tight and ultimately losing track position in the final 10 laps of the race.