Third Place Finish Brings Big Reward At Dover

Regan Smith entered the Buckle Up 200 at Dover International Speedway with a chance at winning $100,000 via the XFINITY Dash4Cash program, and he made the most of it by finishing a fast-closing third. The $100,000 prize from series sponsor XFINITY went to the top finisher among Smith, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez. Dillon was eighth, Wallace finished 17th and Suarez came home 19th.

Smith was battling for what he thought was the race lead in the final 17 laps as green-flag pit stops played themselves out. Having stopped with 18 laps to go for two tires and fuel, Smith was boring in on Matt Kenseth, who had stopped earlier, and nearly caught him with three laps to go. Smith made a move to the high side and lost some ground, allowing Kenseth to squirt away. However, Chris Buescher had stayed out in an attempt to make his fuel last to the end, and somehow, he did. Buescher won the race by 11 seconds over Kenseth and Smith.

By winning the first installment of the four-race Dash4Cash program, Smith is the only driver with a chance to win the $1 million bonus for winning all four events. The next event is July 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is Smith’s second Dash4Cash victory, having won the big check in 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

After crew chief Jason Burdett and the Breyers team made substantial changes to the car after practice on Friday, the 10th-starting Smith was able to open the 200-lap event on a positive note. He gained two spots on the initial start and that would be a recurring theme. On the next restart, he gained another spot, and by lap 35 was in the top five.

At the first pit stop, Smith came down for four tires and fuel and left after a blistering 11.6-second stop to advance into the top three. The last two stops at Charlotte and the first one at Dover averaged 11.3 seconds, and Smith has finished fourth and third, respectively, in those two events. The second pit stop on Saturday, which came at the 103-lap mark, was a blazing 10.67 seconds, also for four Goodyear Eagles and Sunoco Racing fuel.

Armed with that kind of speed in the pits, Smith set about putting his Breyers Camaro in the wind, and he tracked down Austin Dillon and Erik Jones in the closing laps to put himself and the team in position for the big payday and a much-needed NASCAR XFINITY Series victory.

Despite not getting to Victory Lane, it was a profitable day for Smith, Burdett and the No. 7 team. In addition to the $100,000 bonus, it was the team’s fifth top-five finish and second in two races, as well as his ninth top-10 result in 12 starts so far in 2015. He jumped a spot in the points to fourth, the highest he’s been all season, but lost six points to the leader, race-winner Buescher.

Buescher led Kenseth, Smith, Austin Dillon and JRM driver Kasey Kahne to the finish, while JRM teammate Chase Elliott was a stout sixth on the day.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Breyers team
“I don’t want to lose sight of what XFINITY does for the series, the drivers and the teams. To have such a great sponsor step in the year after having a great sponsor move on to another part of the sport has been a neat deal. We appreciate them, and certainly want to take as much of their money as we can! I think we’re the only team now that can win all four of them and get the $1 million bonus if we do everything right. The way we’re running, I think we are more than capable of doing that. Jason Burdett, Allen Hart, my engineer, all those guys have really stepped up this year. We have fast race cars every time we race, and when we don’t we do a nice job of adjusting on them to make them better. Today was no different; we had to work hard on it overnight. I didn’t like where the race car was yesterday, and they made good adjustments. We had very fast pit stops. Our pit crew has been lights-out the last two or three weeks."

“I thought I made a mistake going to the outside when I caught Matt at the end. I thought it was the battle for the win. I didn’t realize the 60 [Buescher] had made it [on fuel]. Fuel-mileage races are frustrating, and maybe that’s because I haven’t been on the good end of one yet, but cars that weren’t up there all day end up snookering you. You can’t take that chance [staying out] when you are up front. I was disappointed about that, but nonetheless very proud of the effort today.” 

Regan Smith Race Report:
Buckle Up 200

  Start 10th
  Finish 3rd
  Laps Completed (Led) 200 of 200 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 41 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 4th (-47)
  Condition (Status) Running