Zane Smith has "as good a shot as anybody" at Trucks title
It’s been a whirlwind rookie season for Zane Smith in the NASCAR Truck Series and he still has a chance to make it even more unforgettable.
Smith, 21, has the opportunity Friday night at Phoenix Raceway to become just the second rookie in series history (outside of the series’ first year) to become the champion. Current Cup Series drive Erik Jones accomplished the feat in 2015.
Smith, a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., has won two races and collected six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He entered the playoffs as the second seed.
“I’ve felt like I really saw a difference after the Charlotte race with me racing with Kyle (Busch) and Chase (Elliott). Unfortunately, I ended third, but I remember my drive home from that night seeing the fan base I’d grown,” Smith said.
“It normally doesn’t happen like that. It was a light-switch. It’s been super-cool seeing the fan support and I feel like I’m achieving my goals and every day if you can achieve your goals, you go to bed happy at night.
“I wanted to win rookie of year, contend for race wins, win a race and see myself in the final four and I did that. Obviously, you have a championship on that list but that’s really hard to get. I have as good a shot as anybody else.”
Smith has not had an easy path through the playoffs.
He squeaked through the first round with no finish better than seventh, but in the semifinal round he turned things around with finishes of 11th at Kansas, third at Texas and third again last weekend at Martinsville, Va., which allowed to claim the final spot in the Championship 4.
While this will be Smith’s first Truck start at Phoenix, it’s a track on which he does have previous experience, having competed there in K&N Pro Series West (now ARCA West) and Xfinity series races.
“I feel like that is definitely going to help,” he said. “If it was a championship race or not, I would Phoenix circled on my calendar. I really like going there and I feel like that place really suits me.”
A look at the other three drivers competing for the 2020 NASCAR Trucks Series title:
Not only is the California native an X-Games Gold-Medalist and two-time Stadium Super Trucks Series champion, but Creed also captured the 2018 ARCA Menards Series championship. Now in his second fulltime season in Trucks, Creed, 23, has developed into a consistent contender for race wins. He kicked off the season with five top-10 finishes in the first seven
races including his first series career victory at Kentucky to lock himself into the playoffs for the first time. He owns four wins on the season entering the title race.
Enfinger, 35, may be the most experienced of the title contenders but he, too, is enjoying a career-best season that kicked off with a win in the season opener at Daytona. This season, Enfinger has carried the ThorSport Racing banner winning a career-best four races, including the victory last weekend at Martinsville, Va., in a must-win scenario that locked him into the Championship 4 for the first time in his career.
Moffitt is looking to become just the fifth driver in history to win multiple series championships. He won the 2018 Trucks championship with Hattori Racing Enterprises. This year he’s in a Chevrolet with GMS Racing and competing for the title against two teammates – Smith and Creed. It wasn’t until the 20th race in the season that Moffitt, 28, finally found Victory Lane but it came at the right time – sending him into the Championship 4 for the third time in his career.
Enfinger wins wild Martinsville Truck race to earn title shot
Sheldon Creed wins Truck finale and title in wild OT finish