Smith Caught In Combo of Daytona Crashes

Regan Smith had a fast Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, but through a combination of factors, he ended up 17th with a beat-up race car by the time it was over.

After struggling to convince any of the other 39 drivers to go with him to chase down the leaders for most of the 100-lap race, Smith finally hooked up with JRM teammates Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott and started paring down the gap to the top 10. The trio sliced more than four seconds off the lead pack’s advantage, helped by a pack of slower cars battling two- and three-wide in front of them. A couple of caution flags allowed Smith to maneuver into a solid 11th-place standing with 11 laps remaining, and he was in the high line when Ryan Reed made an ill-advised move across the nose of Brendan Gaughan’s Chevrolet. That triggered a 14-car pileup, which included Smith, and knocked all four corners of the car into so much battered metal.

The resulting mess caused a red flag, and Smith brought his damaged car to pit road. That triggered a one-lap penalty for passing the pace car and set in motion a series of events that led to optimism and then more disappointment. The JRM team did a good job assessing the damage and getting it back to racing form, and he rejoined the race down two laps to the leader.

With six laps to go, Smith had pushed his car back to speed and was trying to get a lap back when another crash triggered by an aggressive block by the leader caught Smith up again, this time wrinkling whatever hadn’t been damaged in the first crash. A series of pit stops got the car back on the track, but laps ran out before he could advance past 17th. He finished two laps down.

The last restrictor-plate race of the season was regarded as an opportunity to make up ground on point leader Chris Buescher. As it was, Smith lost five and sits fourth in the standings, 67 out of the lead. Elliott finished third and Kahne fourth, as both missed the crashes that caught Smith out.

Austin Dillon won the race, followed by Elliott Sadler, Elliott, Kahne and Benny Gordon. Dakoda Armstrong led the second five, followed by David Ragan, Erik Jones, Harrison Rhodes and Ross Chastain.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Fire Alarm Services team
“We had a fast race car, but nobody wanted to race tonight. We were stuck in whatever line we were in all night long. The 16 [Ryan Reed] was fast, but made a move he shouldn’t have made and that caught us up in the first crash. Jason [crew chief Jason Burdett] and the team did a great job getting the car back on the track, great organization and execution. They did the hard work to get us back out there. We will go on to the next one and keep pushing hard for points and victories.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
Subway Firecracker 250

  Start 15th
  Finish 17th
  Laps Completed (Led) 102 of 102 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 27 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 4th (-67)
  Condition (Status) Running