Zane Smith earns Truck title in third Championship 4 appearance
AVONDALE, ARIZ. — In both 2020 and 2021, Zane Smith left Phoenix Raceway with a runner-up finish in the NASCAR Truck Series championship and no plans set up for the following year.
This year, Smith leaves Phoenix with a championship to defend and some Cup and Xfinity starts in 2023, as he finally broke through Friday night to claim his first NASCAR Truck Series championship.
Smith bested Chandler Smith, Ben Rhodes and Ty Majeski for the championship. He led the championship for 119 of 154 laps in the overtime-extended Lucas Oil 150 finale at Phoenix Raceway.
Zane Smith won both stages, led a race-high 77 laps and comfortably led with 15 laps to go in regulation. Then, a caution fell for Hailie Deegan blowing a tire and hitting the wall in turn 3.
Pit stops put Zane in 11th, behind championship competitor Ben Rhodes who put on two tires, as well as Ty Majeski and Chandler Smith who put on four, for the restart with 10 to go.
On the restart, in turn 3, Zane made a four-wide move on Chandler Smith that vaulted him toward a run for the front that put him in second. Majeski battled Zane for the position but didn’t survive, as he spun and hit the wall with two to go.
Zane took the lead from 3rd on the overtime restart with a quick move on Ben Rhodes. On the final lap, Rhodes tried a last-ditch move on the final lap but came up in second as Zane Smith cruised to his first Truck championship with Chandler Smith in third and Ty Majeski in fourth for the championship.
Zane Smith is the 20th different champion in NASCAR’s Truck Series. He’s also the 12th and final Camping World/Gander Outdoors Truck champion.
After his runner-up championship finish, Chandler Smith will move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series and race the Kaulig Racing No. 16 Chevrolet in 2023.
No official plans have been announced for Ben Rhodes and Ty Majeski in 2023.
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