Zane Smith picked up his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the 2023 season at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on Saturday.
It’s his third top-five finish in his first four races of the season and his burnout at the end of the race perfectly encapsulated Smith’s season so far – hot.
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The reigning Truck Series champion’s vehicle caught fire during the victory celebration. He was congratulating his team while thick black smoke billowed from his truck.
He led the final 15 laps of the race and crossed the finish live about 5.451 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch.
“It was fast when it mattered,” Smith said after the race, via Reuters. “I just enjoy coming to all the road courses, especially here. So cool. Just a true testament to this team.
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“Once we got to that 8 [laps]-to-go point and I was told Kyle was in second, my heart rate went up a little bit – just because he’s so good at managing his stuff when it mattered. So I just tried not to make any mistakes.”
Ty Majeski finished in third place, Tyler Ankrum crossed the finish line in fourth and Ross Chastain was fifth.
“Played the long game and unfortunately the long game didn’t work,” Busch added. “They got lucky and beat us.”
Smith started the 2023 trucks season with a win in Daytona and then finished in second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In Atlanta, Smith finished in 20th place.
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It’s nearly the same way Smith started out last season. He also won at Daytona to start 2022 and then finished in first place at the Circuit of the Americas.