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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Zane Smith Wins Truck Series Race at COTA

(Photo: John Arndt | r/NASCAR)

AUSTIN, Texas — Zane Smith has made a habit of winning at Circuit of the Americas.

For the second year in a row, Smith dominated — leading a race-high 16 laps to win the XPEL 225 at COTA. Along with Todd Gilliland’s win in 2021, Front Row Motorsports has won all three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at the 20-turn road course.

“Just really happy to be here,” Smith told reporters after the race. “It’s déjà vu of last year. We won Daytona and then this is my second win. Just an awesome year so far.

“I’m with a really good group right now and these trophies are hard to come by, no matter who you are. I’m 23 years old and I hope to be in this sport for a very long time.”

Zane Smith burned it down a little to hard on Saturday. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

Smith started Saturday’s race and 12th and pitted for four tires on Lap 9 during a caution. He crossed the line eighth and the end of Stage 1 and stayed out through Stage 2, coming home second.

Shortly after the conclusion of Stage 2, Parker Kligerman slowed on the frontstretch and Smith decided to pit. Kyle Busch, who won the second stage, stayed out longer before pitting and surrendering track position.

“Brian [Patte, crew chief] wanted to come in three laps before that yellow,” Busch explained. “We should have come in one lap after like I said, and then we decided to just play the long game because we had such a [led], and it bit us.”

Busch drove from mid-pack to second in the closing laps but was too far behind Smith to contend for the win without a caution.

“I knew while [Busch] was trying to get through traffic, I needed to put together some really good laps yet still save something for the end if it was going to come down to me and him,” Smith said. “I charged those first four laps [after the restart], built up about a six-second lead, and then pretty much the rest of the race, just manage brakes. I started getting a really soft pedal, and so was just trying to manage that, and obviously, tire fall-off is big here.”

(Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

Ty Majeski and Tyler Ankrum finished third and fourth, respectively. Ross Chastain, last year’s Cup winner, finished fifth in a one-off for Niece Motorsports. After starting on the pole, a fuel pump issue set the 30-year-old back and out of winning contention.

Chastain hopes to use the extra laps to his advantage in Sunday’s Cup race.

“[COTA’s] been awfully kind to me,” Chastain said. “It’s pretty incredible to put in the work and see the results somewhere … this place is definitely special.”


STAGE 1: Christian Eckes, Ty Majeski, Corey Heim, Kaz Grala, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, Tyler Ankrum, Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, Matt DiBenedetto

STAGE 2: Kyle Busch, Zane Smith, Lawlwss Alan, Stewart Friesen, Parker Kligerman, Hailie Deegan, Ross Chastain, Kaden Honeycutt, Ben Rhodes, Nick Sanchez

FINAL: Zane Smith, Kyle Busch, Ty Majeski, Tyler Ankrum, Ross Chastain, Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez, Tanner Gray, Kaz Grala, Ben Rhodes

Note: Rob Tiongson contributed to this report on-site from COTA.

Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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