Smith Leads Team JRM at Loudon

Regan Smith endured the chaotic closing laps of Saturday’s CNBC Prime’s the Profit 200 to finish eighth, showing the way for the two-car JR Motorsports contingent at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

With a fourth-place qualifying effort - tying his best of the season - Smith hung inside the top-six in the race’s early stages. Following the team’s initial pit stop on lap 38, which saw the No. 7 take four tires when most competitors took two, Smith fell to 13th. The four tires paid dividends under green, as Smith leveraged the additional rubber and began picking off positions. He climbed back to sixth by the halfway mark and cycled as high as second under green-flag pit stops on lap 118. Finding a spot inside the top five, Smith made noise amid the frontrunners as he traded positions with competitors.

After surviving a pair of green-white-checkered restarts, Smith lined up in fifth position for the third and final attempt (NASCAR rules mandate only three attempts will be made at a green-white-checkered finish). When the field rumbled to life, Smith took his strong run on the No. 11 of Elliott Sadler to the inside lane. Sadler quickly moved low to block and the resulting contact sent the 11 spinning, while Smith was forced to forfeit several positions due to a loss of momentum. With only one lap remaining however, Smith regained his composure and still picked up two positions en route to his 13th top-10 finish of the season and career-best finish at New Hampshire.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet

“I’m bummed to not get the finish we deserved with this TaxSlayer Chevy. The guys did a phenomenal job with this car all weekend and I fully expected to get a top-five or better out of this race. We ran in the top five for almost the entire day, but with all those green-white-checkereds, it really makes things tough at the end. And it’s hard to maintain positions in all that craziness. We still have the points lead, so that’s something positive we can carry into next weekend.”

On the incident with Sadler:

“The 20 car went to block [Elliott] and he went down to block me. I had a run on the inside so I went in there and got way down on the flat and lost the nose of the car. I slid sideways trying to keep off of him initially, and when I did, it snapped back into him. The contact wasn’t intentional but it happened and it took him out. It’s my fault. I hate that happened, but you can’t take it back.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
CNBC Prime's The Profit 200

  Start 4th
  Finish 8th
  Laps Completed (Led) 213 of 213 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 36 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 1st (+5)
  Condition (Status) Running