Smith Struggles In Kentucky

After getting caught in a late-race accident, Regan Smith and the No. 7 Clean Coal team were relegated to a 28th-place finish in Friday night’s John R. Elliott Hero Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Smith’s day started off promising when the Clean Coal pit crew gained him five positions on pit road under the first caution, propelling him to eighth for the ensuing restart.

The pivotal moment for the team came when crew chief Ryan Pemberton called for a strategic two-tire pit stop on lap 83. The move gave Smith the lead, where he held point for two laps before giving way to cars with four fresh tires. Smith settled into a spot inside the top-five before hitting pit road again for a scheduled green-flag stop. But before competitors could cycle through green-flag pit stops, a caution for debris slowed the field, trapping the Clean Coal team a lap down. Smith took the wave around and was put back on the lead lap in the 13th position.

When the field took the restart, Smith engaged in a three-wide battle with the No. 16 of Ryan Reed and the No. 42 of Kyle Larson. Contact with the 16 car on the backstretch sent Smith careening into the inside retaining wall, resulting in major damage to the Clean Coal Chevy. Despite the damage, Smith managed to limp the broken machine home to a 28th-place finish.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Clean Coal team

“Kentucky has just been a struggle for us the past couple years. You know, we just never had a real handle on things this weekend. It was tough. Even with the test day this week, it was just a battle.

“The race was just a tough situation. We tried to use pit strategy and get up front, and it worked until that caution came out after green-flag stops. That just killed us. It really led to us getting back in the pack and that was where we didn’t want to be. I think we all saw the results.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
John R. Elliott Hero Campaign 300

  Start 14th
  Finish 28th
  Laps Completed (Led) 197 of 197 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 17 (1)
  Standings (From Leader) 3rd (-8)
  Condition (Status) Running