Fresh off his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win, Zane Smith now sets his sights on his first NASCAR road course start in Sunday’s Sunoco 159 at Daytona International Speedway.
As of a result of the new way to determine the starting lineup, Smith will have a good view for the start of the race when he rolls off from the pole in his No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing.
"I think it’s going to be a lot of fun," Smith said. "I’ve never raced in a stock car/(truck) on a road course, but all my background is kart racing. I did the road course ones all around the country and had a lot of success in those. I’m really looking forward to it."
One of the tracks Smith visited while racing karts was Daytona for the annual KartWeek.
"I remember…we’d always pack up all of our stuff and I’d have all new clothes and all my new stuff from Christmas and either we would fly out Christmas night or the 26th early morning and fly down to Daytona," Smith said. "I took home some trophies on KartWeek so hopefully I take home another truck trophy."
While he does not have an iRacing rig to practice on, Smith was able to spend time in the Chevrolet simulator to prepare for Sunday’s 44-lap race. Smith also spends time turning left and right karting at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C. each week with his trainer.
"I luckily had a good bit of time on the Chevy sim and so that’s a big thank you to them," Smith said. "I mean that’s where I think you’ll really see differences between people kind of like translate the sim to real life, which I’m hoping it does because we’ve been fast on the simulator so that’s a positive take away from there."
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Smith’s win last weekend at Michigan International Speedway was his seventh top 10 of the season and it boosted him two spots to second in the standings. More importantly, the victory locked him into the playoffs. Smith came close in a couple races prior to Michigan, including Charlotte where he finished third behind Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch.
"Kentucky we ran really well and the rain cut us short and then Kansas (second race) we won both stages and then just lost in the final stage," Smith said. "I don’t know, it’s just part of it. It makes your first one that much sweeter. I hate missing out on opportunities just because I get only so few of them. Hopefully, I could just keep on adding to the trophy case. That’s the plan this year."
Motor Racing Network’s live coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco 159 will start at 11:30 a.m. ET.