Indianapolis, Indiana (December 9, 2017) – Announced today at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, 15-year old Georgia native Chandler Smith, has joined Venturini Motorsports for six short track races next season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Fresh off a pair of top-5 finishes in last weekend’s highly competitive Snowflake and Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida, Smith becomes the latest teenage talent to leap into the series making his ARCA debut at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on April 7.
Selected to pilot the team’s No.55 Toyota Camry for a partial schedule, the high school sophomore will also compete at Salem Speedway (April 22), Toledo Speedway (May 20), Iowa Speedway (July 7), Elko Speedway (July 14) and Lucas Oil Raceway (September 7).
“It’s a big step in my career and an exciting time in my life,” said Smith after announcing his 2018 ARCA schedule. “I’m excited and ready to put my skills to the test. I’ve got a lot to prove. Running ARCA will be a big learning curve for me but I’m really confident in myself and this team. Venturini Motorsports and Toyota has shown a lot of success over the years with young drivers. They’ve got a great program – it’s the best fit.”
When asked about the upcoming transition to the ARCA Series Smith says it’s all he knows.
“I’ve been moving up in ranks from the beginning – at my age I’ve had to learn and adapt to every series and every car – there’s really no difference here. The more seat time and experience I gain the better driver I’ll become. I’m excited for my future,” said Smith.
Smith, recognized within the Toyota Racing Development family under the TD2 program, has recently become a part of Toyota’s Development Driver lineup.
“We’re excited to welcome Chandler into the family,” says team owner Billy Venturini. “He’s really stood out amongst the top young drivers in stock car racing. Based on everything I’ve seen I truly believe he has the foundation both on and off the track to make it to the next level.”
Like so much of today’s youth movement in motorsports, Smith started his career at the tender age of 4, starting in Karts before moving up through the ranks into Quarter Midgets, Bandoleros, Pro Late Models and Super Late Models. During his young career Smith has earned 9 National Championships.
Between 2007-2011 Smith competed nationally in Quarter Midgets. During that time period he won the 2010 QMA Jr. Stock National and Eastern Grands Championship and the USAC Jr. Honda, Jr. Stock and Light Mod National Championship. Smith went on to compete in the INEX Bandoleros from 2012-14. During this time, he was a three time Atlanta Motor Speedway Bandolero Champion, as well as the 2014 Charlotte Motor Speedway Summer Shootout Bandolero Champion.
In 2015, Smith made the jump to Pro Late Model racing, earning his first career win in the PASS Pro Late Model Racing Series at South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway. In 2016-17 Smith continued his development racing late models earning numerous top-5 finishes going up against some of the strongest competition in the country. In addition to a strong showing last week in Pensacola, Smith made headlines winning a heat race in this year’s inaugural Short Track US Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Since ARCA reduced the series age requirement in 2014, Smith will become the sixth 15-year old driver to join VMS’ potent Toyota backed development team along with the likes of Todd Gilliland, Kyle Benjamin, Christian Eckes, Justin Haley and Raphael Lessard.
For more information on Chandler Smith visit www.ChandlerSmithRacing26.com or @CSmithRacing26 on Twitter, @CSmithRacing26 on Instagram and MSC Motorsports of Chandler Smith on Facebook.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30-years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. Multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Erik Jones, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Brennan Poole, Daniel Suarez, and Brandon Jones. Over the years the Venturini name has become synonymous with modern-day racing in America. In 2012, the Venturini family was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (www.NIASHF.org) and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.