Smith Finishes Fourth In Texas

Rebounding from a pit stop error that cost him 17 spots in the early stages of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Texas 300, Regan Smith and the No. 7 team fought their way a solid fourth-place finish Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

After starting sixth, Smith fought a tight-then-loose handling condition for the first 67 laps. However, when he pitted under caution on lap 68, he found himself up in second place for the restart. After rejoining the field, however, it was discovered that some lug nuts had not been fully tightened on the left rear wheel. Crew chief Jason Burdett opted not to take a chance on leaving them loose and called Smith back to pit road to get it fixed.

That put him 19th for the restart, and what had seemed to be a good situation had turned sour at the speed of light.
Smith, however, still battling the on-again, off-again handling of his bright red Chevrolet, put his head down as well as his foot and started passing cars, heading back to where he was before the mishap. By lap 90, when he blew past Elliott Sadler for 11th place, he had it rolling. Seventeen laps later he was back in the top 10, just in time to pit again on lap 117.

Restarting 15th, he quickly dispatched four cars in one lap, was ninth on lap 124 and eighth when the yellow waved again on lap 127. That burst earned a “nice job” call from Burdett.

Restarting sixth after two cars pitted in front of him, Smith reached fourth with 67 laps remaining, and took third on a restart soon after. As the laps wound down, he slid to fifth in time for another caution and made his final pit stop with a chance at the race victory in the windshield.

Over the final 29 laps, Smith would run as high as third and settle in to fourth place behind JRM team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., and despite several laps of trying, was unable to catch and pass the Goody’s Chevrolet. He settled for fourth, a solid result on a tough night that also cut into his points deficit to leader Ty Dillon. Smith gained eight points on the night, which ties him for fifth place in points with Ryan Reed, and he was the top-finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series regular as well.

Erik Jones won the race, followed by Brad Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr., Smith and Austin Dillon. JRM teammate Chase Elliott was eighth at the stripe.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 team
“We’re happy for the points in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but I’m ready to win one of these. It’s been a while. I thought we had a car capable of winning tonight. We had to battle back a couple of times. My guys fought hard, we had a fast race car. We weren’t as fast as the 20 (Jones) or the 22 (Keselowski), probably needed a little more time to adjust on it up front. I appreciate everyone at TaxSlayer for all the help they give us, and we’re going to fight hard all year.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
O'Reilly Auto Parts 300

  Start 6th
  Finish 4th
  Laps Completed (Led) 200 of 200 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 40 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 6th (-22)
  Condition (Status) Running