Once again, Donnie Wilson and Wilson Motorsports have put together a lethal lineup to contest the three big crown jewel races at the end of the 2020 season. This year, one of racing’s biggest rising stars will join the “OKC Bandit” for Big Race Season.
Chandler Smith will return to Super Late Model competition in the Wilson Motorsports No. 22 starting next weekend at the Winchester 400. He will also enter in the All American 400 and the Snowball Derby with the team.
The move to Wilson Motorsports brings in a little bit of change to Smith, who competed in four Super Late Model races for Kyle Busch Motorsports one year ago. His most recent start in a Super came back in June in a CARS Super Late Model Tour race at Hickory, where he finished second. Even with the new team, he will still be in Rowdy Manufacturing cars like he was with KBM.
“I’ve known Donnie for quite a long time, I’ve raced with him and he’s got very good equipment. I figured we could go run somewhere different and try to change it up,” Smith told Speed51. “Donnie’s had really good success with the Rowdy cars, me and KBM have had our fair share as well but I feel like not as good as they have. I’m going to go over there and run a few races with them and see what’s so different.”
Smith will not go at it alone in any of the three races. Wilson himself will also compete at Winchester and Nashville, while Smith will be joined by Cole Butcher and Kaden Honeycutt at the Snowball Derby.
He feels that Wilson Motorsports has a strong team dynamic, and he believes he will fit in just fine.
“It’s going to be good just having Donnie there and everybody that’s a part of that team. It’s a strong little group and they all are old-school and that’s my style as far as short track racing goes. With all the chemistry and stuff, hopefully it’ll be fun.”
Smith has flexed muscle in crown jewel races over the years. He finished second in the 2018 Winchester 400 in his family-owned No. 26 after a fierce battle with Jeff Choquette in the final laps, while he scored another runner-up in the All American 400 last year after late-race drama featuring then-Wilson Motorsports driver Casey Roderick.
With a new ride for all three races, he is in search of his long-awaited first crown jewel Super Late Model win.
“I’ve been chasing the Winchester 400 and the All American 400 for the past three years, I feel like it’s one of those races that owe us at least one of them now. It would definitely mean a lot for me specifically, just getting that weight off my shoulders. With the Derby, we haven’t really been good enough to win but it would be nice to go down there and have a good enough car to go and win and put my name down in history.”
Wilson is just as excited to have Smith join his team for the end of the year races. With nine ARCA Menards Series wins and five top-five finishes in the NASCAR Truck Series, he says the stats speak for themselves in terms of the young Georgia driver.
“Honestly, we’re thrilled to death to have him in one of my cars for not only Winchester, but also for the All American 400 and the Derby. You really don’t have to say much, he’s a winner,” said Wilson. “I’m just glad to have him in one of my cars for those three races and hopefully we can win one of them or all three.”
Wilson will get back behind the wheel at Winchester and Nashville, joining Smith as a dual-threat at the high-banked facilities. While Wilson is a former All American 400 winner, he is also looking for his first Winchester win.
With four top-fives between the two in the event, Wilson hopes to see one of his cars in victory lane with the famed rifle.
“We’ve been bringing fast cars to the racetrack no matter what, just hopefully we can capitalize on it and one of us can win Winchester. That place has eluded a win for both of us, I think both of us are due for a win there. Hopefully one of us can bring a rifle home.”
Fans unable to make it to Winchester Speedway for next weekend’s Winchester 400 can watch it live on Speed51.TV. Click here to purchase your three-day PPV ticket.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo