NASCAR Gander Trucks

Dirt racer Mark Smith to run Daytona RC Truck race

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Credit: Niece Motorsports

16 August’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race on the Daytona International Speedway road course will be NASCAR’s first time competing on such a layout. For the race, Niece Motorsports has enlisted the services of dirt track ace Mark Smith. He will drive the #42 Chevrolet Silverado.

“It’s every racer’s team to run at Daytona,” Smith said in a release courtesy of Shelby Press Marketing. “I’m grateful for Niece Motorsports and my sponsors for allowing me to check off this life-changing experience from my bucket list. I’m thrilled to build off of the chemistry we had at Eldora last year, and fight to get Niece Motorsports the finish its exceptional equipment is capable of at the iconic Daytona Road Course.”

Per the announcement, Smith leads the United Sprint Car Series (USCS) 360 Outlaws Sprint Car division standings with fourteen race wins; his advantage had ballooned to 113 points by 18 July. In 2019, he made his Truck Series d├ębut in the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway with Niece, where he finished fifteenth.

It might seem unusual for a dirt racer to be brought in for a road course race, but it can be inferred that Smith would have run the 2020 Derby had it not been cancelled due to COVID-19. The Truck Series’ lone original road course date at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was also called off.

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Smith thanks Niece Motorsports general manager Cody Efaw for the opportunity. Efaw was also responsible for bringing action sports star Travis Pastrana back to NASCAR during last Saturday’s Truck race at Kansas Speedway after a three-year absence.

“We are excited for the challenge that the Daytona Road Course presents, and we are proud to once again partner with Mark Smith and his impeccable racing pedigree,” said Efaw. “We’re confident he’ll represent our organization with a strong performance during this historic event.”

The #42 truck has seen limited starts in 2020 compared to its three full-time counterparts (#40, #44, and #45), with Ross Chastain using it in three races so far. While Ty Majeski is piloting the #45 on a full-time basis, the #44 and #45 have been split between a variety of drivers; the three trucks are also adjacent to each other in the owners’ standings in eighteenth to twentieth. The #42 is thirty-first with Chastain scoring two top-ten finishes. Outside of Majeski, Smith’s team-mates in the other trucks have not been revealed.

With no practice or qualifying for the race, the races themselves will be the first time that many drivers across NASCAR’s three national series (Cup, Xfinity, Truck) and the ARCA Menards Series will turn laps on the Daytona road course. Further road course ringers with experience on the configuration will likely be revealed in the days leading up to the weekend; sports car veteran Andy Lally and longtime NASCAR racer Mike Wallace have already confirmed their entries for the Xfinity event.

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