Smith Salvages Top-10 In Phoenix

Regan Smith drove to a ninth-place finish in Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.  The effort marked Smith’s third-consecutive top-10 finish, but fell short of the team’s hopes for the day.
Driving the No. 7 Axalta Cromax Chevrolet, Smith’s day started with a tight condition.  The team still managed to climb to seventh, where Smith settled in for the race’s opening laps.  The turning point came when crew chief Jason Burdett called Smith to pit road under caution for a two-tire stop, which propelled the No. 7 car to third for a restart on lap 101.  Smith drove as high as second following the restart, and then dropped to third prior to another caution on the race’s 124th circuit.  Still riding in third on the ensuing restart, Smith dove under the No. 42 of Brennan Poole in a challenge for the lead.  When the 42 moved low to block, the two made slight contact and Smith dropped to 10th as a result. 

Under the next caution, Smith again hit pit road for fresh tires.  With other competitors staying out, Smith restarted in 16th.  Over the race’s final laps, Smith made quick work of the competition and climbed back inside the top 10, ultimately finding ninth before the checkered flag fell.

Joey Logano won the race and was followed to the line by Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Axalta Cromax team

“Certainly not what we wanted for our team or for Axalta today.  We showed a lot of strength once we got some track position.  But that was really hard to come by.  Jason did a great job making some of those calls on top of the pit box.  Taking two tires at one point was exactly what we needed to get some clean air."

“After the contact with the No. 42, something just wasn’t right with the car.  I don’t know if we had a tire going down or what, but that’s what it felt like.  The car wasn’t really the same after that.  I think we salvaged what we could today.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200

  Start 8th
  Finish 9th
  Laps Completed (Led) 200 of 200 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 35 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 7th (-36)
  Condition (Status) Running