Smith Finishes 3rd at Kansas

Regan Smith led a race-high 81 laps on his way to a third-place finish in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Smith muscled his No. 7 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet to the lead for the first time by passing Austin Dillon on a lap-31 restart and set sail extending his lead to more than two seconds before pitting at lap 84. After coming to pit road under green, Smith found himself trapped a lap down when the caution flew several laps later at lap 90. The sequence forced Smith to opt for the wavearound and ultimately dictated crew chief Greg Ives’ pit calls for the remainder of the race.

When many of the leaders hit pit road at lap 118, Ives kept Smith’s No. 7 on track allowing him to regain the lead. The team’s hopes for a cycle of green-flag pit stops were unanswered as the caution flew again at lap 145. With many leaders able to take right-side tires or fuel only, Smith’s team was forced to take four fresh tires and pack the fuel cell for the finish. Smith restarted 14th with 50 laps remaining and methodically worked his way to fifth when Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski tangled to bring out the final caution at lap 188.

Smith took the final restart fourth and quickly jumped to second with his sights set on chasing down eventual winner Matt Kenseth. The late charge fell short and Smith was narrowly-edged by Paul Menard for second at the stripe. The third-place finish marks Smith’s best finish on a 1.5-mile track this season.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Fire Alarm Services team
“I think the story of our race was when we got hung a lap down when the caution came out (after we had pitted). That really killed us. It kind of dictated our pit strategy for the rest of the day and what we had to do. We were able to get track position back and then that caution came out at the worst possible time for us. We were hoping to get green-flag stops and then we would have been fine; nonetheless, it was an excellent run for all the guys at JR Motorsports.

“If we keep having race cars as fast as this one was today, then yes we’re still in (the championship hunt) and we can reel them back in. I’m pretty disappointed. The Fire Alarm Services Chevy was really fast out front. There was definitely no car that could compete with it in this field. I’m proud of the guys for that. We’ve struggled on mile-and-a-halves this year. We’ve worked very hard to make that better. We had breast cancer awareness on the car for October so I’m excited to help with such a great cause.

“We can take a lot of positives out of the day just knowing how good this car was. This is the best car I’ve had since I’ve been in NASCAR in general. I’m real proud of my team for that. We’ll go to Charlotte with the same stuff and hope for the same thing.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
Kansas Lottery 300

  Start 5th
  Finish 3rd
  Laps Completed (Led) 200 of 200 (81)
  Points (Bonus) 43 (2)
  Standings (From Leader) 3rd (-35)
  Condition (Status) Running