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Huntington Beach’s Zane Smith to compete for NASCAR truck series championship

Driver Zane Smith reacts to fans after winning the NASCAR Truck Series race.
Driver Zane Smith reacts to fans after winning the NASCAR Truck Series race on Saturday in Martinsville, Va.
(Wade Payne / Associated Press)

A victory at Martinsville (Va.) Raceway last weekend thrust Huntington Beach native Zane Smith into the four-driver NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points championship field for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.

Smith, 22, reached the final four as a rookie driver in 2020 and finished second to Sheldon Creed of Alpine, Calif. His competition for the points championship in Friday night’s 40-truck field will be Ben Rhodes of Louisville, Matt Crafton or Tulare, Calif., and John Nemechek of Mooresville, N.C.

Smith, who moved from Orange County to North Carolina when he was 14 to pursue a racing career, entered last Saturday’s race at Martinsville in eighth place in the standings, 40 points out of a final-four spot. Driving his No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado for the GMS Racing team, Smith led for 65 of the 204 laps run.

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When he edged out Stewart Friesen and Todd Gilliland in the final lap for his first win of the season, Smith vaulted into the top four in the truck series standings. Creed finished ninth and fell out of the final four points championship field, so he will be unable to defend his title.

Zane Smith, 21, will attempt to become the second rookie to win the Gander RV & Outdoors truck series points championship Friday at Phoenix Raceway.

Smith earned Sunoco rookie-of-the-year honors in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with two wins, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes en route to a second-place finish in the championship standings in 2020. He had one win, two top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 2021.

Before racing in the truck series, Smith was a part-time driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2019, making 10 starts. He also raced in the ARCA Menards Series, winning four races and finishing second in the final points standings in 2018.


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