NEWTON, IA – A slow pit stop didn’t slow down Chandler Smith for very long in Friday night’s Fans With Benefits 150 from the Iowa Speedway. The Venturini Motorsports driver led the first 106 laps in his No. 20 Toyota before having a slow pit stop on the second to last caution of the night which took him from first to sixth in the running order. It didn’t take Smith long to find his way back to the lead.
Five laps later, he was back in second. One lap after that, he was back in the lead. Smith, would lead the final 35 laps en route to his sixth career ARCA Menards Series victory, four of which coming this season alone.
“We had some sort of jack malfuction,” Smith said of his pit stop. “It’s all just part of it. I really wanted to lead them all tonight but we’re still leaving here with the trophy and that’s what matters.”
Smith, won last week’s race at Elko Speedway and has won four of his last five ARCA starts overall. He was also quickest in practice on Friday and used that speed to win the pole for the race itself too.
“The only time I ever felt the car respond to aero all night was when I passed a lap car on the outside,” Smith said following his dominating victory. “Other than that it was perfect. I can’t thank Billy and the rest of the Venturini Motorsports team for giving me such a great car here. To have five wins on the season is a dream come true.”
Smith, credited his win with how much he learned from his start in the Truck Series race here last month. In that race, the Georgia native led the opening 55 Laps of the night.
“I learned a lot that carried over here to the ARCA car,” Smith said. “They have the same engine and the same power so a lot of the way they drive is similar. Any time you get extra laps is a benefit.”
Smith topped his teammates across the finish line for a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium for Venturini.
Christian Eckes brought his No. 15 Toyota home runner-up finish in his No. 15 Toyota for his first top five finish since Gateway but his ninth top seven result in his last eight starts on the year. He crossed the finish line just 1.515-seconds behind Smith as the race lasted 1-hour, 20 minutes and 40 seconds.
Michael Self was third in his No. 25 Toyota for his third straight top four finish and his fifth in the last six races too.
Toyota has won five of the last six races in the series overall.
The race was slowed four times by cautions, twice for debris and twice for incidents on track. Scott Melton (No. 69 Melton McFadden Agency Toyota) spun to bring out the first caution of the night on lap ten, and the final caution of the night was necessitated for a spin by Tim Richmond, who nosed into the inside wall going into turn one, with just eight laps to go.