Zane Smith’s fear of losing nearly pushed the California native to the championship during his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The year prior, Smith ran 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series contests for JR Motorsports and his impressive drives helped him land a full-time ride with GMS Racing for 2020.
The 21-year-old racer made the most of the opportunity, winning a pair of races during a season full of unknowns and without practice at several tracks he’d never even seen.
When all was said and done, the driver of the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado crossed the finish line at Phoenix Raceway in the runner-up position, capping an outstanding rookie campaign.
Now, Smith is hungrier than ever to bring home more trophies.
I feel like it was the mindset of knowing that I had to do something to stand out in the sport. I had to prove something and make something work for what I had. A lot of people go in with that mindset, but it doesn’t always work for them. Luckily, it worked for me.
Bono has been awesome. He was my choice in bringing him over to GMS Racing. They asked me who I wanted my crew chief to be, and I had one truck start with Bono at DGR. I really enjoyed working with him. We’ve been clicking and we really hit our stride at the end of the year. Our personalities are really similar. I don’t think he pushes the issue. We both know what situation we’re in and know where we’re at. We know what we want at the end of the day.
Adapting to the trucks. Everyone who I’ve talked to and everything I heard is that the trucks are their own animal because they’re hard to get used to. When you have a truck outside of you or anywhere around you, you lose so many counts of downforce. They’re just a handful, but my driving style helps me with it in dirty air. It’s a lot of fun.
I definitely want more wins. Obviously, I want to have another shot to win the championship. You can’t really say to win the championship because it’s so far-fetched. You just have to have a shot at it. That’s how I look at it. You can’t have too many expectations and give yourself a shot.
Chevrolet has been a huge help. They’re a reason why I’m racing in 2021. Without them and without all of the manufacturers, NASCAR wouldn’t be NASCAR. They deserve a lot more credit than they probably get, along with the team owners. My time with Chevrolet has been awesome. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with them.