After six weeks away from series competition Chandler Smith is ready to slide back in the seat of his familiar No.20 Craftsman/828 Logistics/QuickTie Toyota for Venturini Motorsports (VMS) for this weekend’s ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway.
Smith returns to Salem’s Fall Classic after blowing away the field with a nearly perfect race in last year’s event leading 199 of 200 laps on the night. Looking to defend his dominating performance Smith is set to make his fourth ever appearance at the historic southern Indiana half-mile track. During his three previous Salem starts he’s impressively led 319 out of 500 total laps.
“It’s always nice having some time off but I’m ready to get back at it,” says Smith. Salem is easily one of my favorite places to run. We only have the one win to show, but I feel the other two races we ran there just got away from us. Last year during the spring race we were battling our teammate (Christian Eckes) for the lead on the final lap and blew a tire. And back in April we had the car to get it done but the race ended early because of the rain. Sometimes that’s how it goes in racing. I’ll be ready this week.”
Although racing a limited schedule with VMS in 2019, Smith has been a driving force in the team’s success behind the wheel of the No.20 Toyota team which enters Saturday’s event with a commanding 195-point lead in the series’ owner point standings. Paired with crew chief Billy Venturini the Georgia native has four wins and four General Tire Pole Awards on the season.
Electric behind the wheel since making his ARCA Menards Series debut in 2018, Smith is one of the most prolific drivers to come along in years. Already a six-time series winner at the age of 17, Smith has been a dominating force on tour leading nearly half of all laps run (1,422 of 3,177) during his 18 ARCA starts. Showing speed Smith has claimed eight General Tire Pole Awards including one at Salem. In 18 all-time ARCA starts the high school student has posted 13 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes during his young career.
As part of ARCA’s throwback weekend at Salem, Smith with honor team patriarch, Bill Venturini, by featuring the two-time ARCA Champions’ 1978 United States Auto Club (USAC) paint scheme on his No.20 Toyota.
The ARCA Menards Series will be joined by the Lucas Oil Great American Stocks at Salem Speedway on Saturday night, September 14. Activities will kick off with ARCA Menards Series practice at 12 noon ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 4 pm ET. The Great American Stocks 50-lap feature will roll at 5 pm ET, with the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 set for 7:15 pm ET. The race will be televised live flag-to-flag on MAVTV.