Concord, North Carolina (June 18, 2018) – Fifteen-year-old Chandler Smith scored his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win in the Herr’s 200 at Madison International Speedway on Friday night. Smith also earned his fourth consecutive General Tire Pole in qualifying – setting a record – becoming the first driver to win the pole in his first four series attempts.
Smith, driving the No.15 Craftsman Toyota, led 102-laps on the night, had to overcome adversity early after an unscheduled pit stop on lap-39 to remedy a tire.
After restarting 13th, the Talking Rock, Georgia native quickly worked his way back up into the top five. By the halfway mark, he had moved back into third-place behind the leaders. But by lap 126, Chandler dipped to the low side on a restart and moved into the lead, a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
By the checkered flag, he built up and 11-second lead over the second place competitor. Smith’s teammates, Natalie Decker, Eddie Fatscher and Toni Breidinger all finished inside the top-10.
“We just had a little luck on our side,” Smith said. “I am really blessed with the group of guys I have behind me. Venturini Motorsports gave me a heck of a Craftsman Toyota Camry tonight. That was the first time I ever got sprayed by potato chips in victory lane. Pretty wild!”
“I can’t thank everyone on this Venturini Motorsports team enough for giving me this opportunity. It was a great night for Toyota and Craftsman.”
Home state favorite Natalie Decker turned in a solid performance by finishing sixth behind the wheel of her No.25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota. Decker, the last driver to finish on the lead lap, picked up her fourth top-10 on the season.
Sixteen year-old, Eddie Fatscher, in just his second series attempt, finished eighth in his No.20 Jenel Construction Toyota. Fatscher, a native of Long Island, New York, qualified a career best fourth and ran solidly inside the top-5 running positions during the first half of the race. Fatscher will make his third and final start of the season at Elko Speedway on July 14.
California’s Toni Breidinger, driving Venturini Motorsports’ No.55 Renton Coil Spring – Flexzilla Toyota, met the challenge by finishing 10th in her ARCA Series debut. Making the transition from open wheel racing, Breidinger, 18, will compete in the next two series events at Gateway Motorsports Park and Chicagoland Speedway.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards returns to action Friday night at Gateway Motorsports Park. There is an open test next Thursday, while official practice starts at 1 pm local (2 pm ET) on Friday June 22, with General Tire Pole Qualifying set at 5:30 pm local (6:30 pm ET). The green flag over Papa Nicholas Coffee 150 (120 laps/150 miles) is scheduled for 8 pm local (9 pm ET).
Credit: Venturini Motorsports