LONG POND, Pa. – Chandler Smith was victorious in the CRC Brakleen 150 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon (July 23rd 2022), the 16th race of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and the last in the Regular Season.
After just losing the lead to Ryan Preece before the final caution, Chandler Smith took back control on the restart and held on for the win, his second victory of the 2022 season.
In the battle for the 2022 playoffs, Zane Smith managed to win the Regular Season title despite a rocky day at The Tricky Triangle. For the bubble watch, Matt Crafton was able to hold on to the final spot over Derek Kraus.
The race went the full distance, 60 laps, with five cautions and 20 laps under yellow. The final caution in Stage 1 also counted for the end of the stage. Chandler Smith led the most laps, 49, en route to his fourth career victory.
EXTRA PACE LAPS IN STAGE 1
There were three cautions in the first 15 laps of the race, marring the flow of the entirety of the first stage. It was a Smith front row with Zane on the pole and Chandler outside following a washout in qualifying the day prior. Chandler Smith took control and, for the most part, controlled this race.
The first caution flew almost immediately as Jack Wood would up spinning on Lap 1 in Turn 2. Almost instantaneously after the following restart, Dean Thompson went around on Lap 7 in Turn 1.
The ‘big one’ came on Lap 12 when Todd Bodine got squeeze in between Hailie Deegan and Blaine Perkins in Turn 1. Tyler Hill and Wood were also involved, and the contact would end Bodine’s day in his 800th career start in the entirety of NASCAR. The race would not restart and Chandler Smith rode to a Stage 1 victory.
Bodine retires in 800th start
For Todd Bodine, his 800th and final planned start across the Top 3 levels of NASCAR racing did not end as he would have hoped. The damage to the back of the truck might have been salvageable from just backing it into the wall, but when he was slid into by the No. 5 of Tyler Hill, that was enough to pull it behind the wall.
“It was an enjoyable experience because we had all our friends here, and everybody was rooting for me and pulling for me,” Bodine said after exiting the infield care center. “That meant the world to know to have that kind of respect form these guys.”
In 800 career starts, Bodine managed to collect 37 total wins between the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. 241 of those starts came in the NASCAR Cup Series, but unfortunately no wins were collected in the top level. 22 wins and two championships came in Bodine’s time in the Trucks.
POCONO GREEN FOR STAGE 2
After the first stage, Zane Smith was declared as the 2022 Regular Season Champion. His race didn’t go as planned, but it was mathematically impossible for him to lose the title after grabbing five points in a sixth place stage 1 finish.
During the stage break, there were some who opted to pit, but Chandler Smith and many of the other leaders decided to stay out. As Stage 2 took the green, Chandler Smith continued to lead.
With three laps to go, strategy started to come into play. Corey Heim, Stewart Friesen and others came down for four fresh tires and fuel as Chandler Smith waited until he was able to cross the line for two to go, when the pits would close.
By pitting, the drivers would give up the possibility of stage points, but with as big as Pocono Raceway is, a decent stop would keep most drivers towards the front on the lead lap.
Stage 2 would go green the rest of the way, and staying out to win it was Christian Eckes. Chandler Smith and the rest of those who pitted did not place in the Top 10 and did not score any stage points.
FINAL STAGE SHOWCASES SPLIT STRATEGY
To begin the final stage, Eckes and other drivers who stayed out all took to pit road for what would be their final stops of the race. Meanwhile, Chandler Smith took his truck back to the lead as he and the others who pitted during green all stayed out.
With 19 laps to go, Ryan Preece placed himself in the conversation for the win. Preece made his way to the lead around Chandler Smith after a spirited battle. Meanwhile, Spencer Boyd took a spin and left debris on the racing surface, triggering the final caution of the event.
On the final restart, Chandler Smith muscled his way back into the lead with 14 laps to go. Preece kept him honest, showing his nose a few times as Chandler Smith was able to show off his insane swerving skills to break the draft.
With the white flag in the air, Preece made one more look to the inside entering Turn 1. Chandler Smith held strong and went on to win the event, his first win since Las Vegas.
PLAYOFFS OR PLAY-OOFS
Zane Smith won the coveted Regular Season title in the middle of the Pocono event. He and his team had to settle for a 13th place effort at the end of the day after suffering from throttle issues throughout the event.
The Smiths will join together with the defending champion Ben Rhodes, John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Stewart Friesen, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton in the 2022 playoffs.
Following Pocono, Derek Kraus was eliminated from playoff contention by just a handful of points. Hopefuls such as Kraus, Matt DiBenedetto and Tyler Ankrum were all unable to make this season’s title run.
The Round of 10 playoffs start next week at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. It’ll be the first time the series goes to the short track since 2011 where Timothy Peters was victorious.
CRC BRAKLEEN 150 TOP 10 RESULTS:
- #18 – Chandler Smith
- #17 – Ryan Preece
- #4 – John Hunter Nemechek
- #51 – Corey Heim
- #42 – Carson Hocevar
- #7 – Austin Hill
- #66 – Ty Majeski
- #98 – Christian Eckes
- #19 – Derek Kraus
- #15 – Tanner Gray
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com