Top-10 Brings Bonus At Indianapolis

Regan Smith, Jason Burdett and the rest of the America’s Power Chevrolet team went into Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a three-point plan. Winning the race was the first part, followed by winning the $100,000 XFINITY Dash4Cash bonus that went to the top-finishing eligible driver, and third, having a good day in the points.

As the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad.

Smith didn’t win the race, finishing eighth. He did win the $100,000 XFINITY Dash4Cash bonus for the second time this season, topping JRM teammate Chase Elliott (10th), Brendan Gaughan (13th) and point leader Chris Buescher (15th) for the bonus. He did cut into Buescher’s advantage at the top of the point standings, slicing eight points off to trail by 51 with 15 races remaining.

From the first lap of the race, Burdett called it so that Smith would be in the top 10 after the final pit stop, with plenty of fuel for the end run and a chance at winning both the race and the bonus. An early pit stop on lap 15 saw Smith come in for two tires and fuel without losing any spots on pit road. On lap 37, another caution came out and Burdett had Smith stay out when the leaders pitted, advancing him up to third place by the time he came in six laps later under green.
That stop dropped Smith near the back of the field to 32nd place and precious few spots ahead of leader Kyle Busch. On lap 49, Busch passed Smith to put him a lap down. From there, Smith drove the America’s Power Camaro as hard as he could in relatively clean air and advanced all the way up to eighth on the lead lap by lap 67 as other drivers peeled off to pit under green. Then, the caution that Burdett expected came out on lap 68.

Smith, who had been loose on entry and loose on exit with a little tightness in the middle, came down pit road for four new Goodyear tires, a full tank of Sunoco fuel and a track bar adjustment, all in 11.89 seconds. He left in ninth place with better tires and more fuel than anyone else. All three goals were still in sight.

He entered the final segment three positions behind Buescher for the XFINITY Dash4Cash bonus, and in short order he was past him and into the top spot for the award. He held on over the final 27 laps to finish eighth, two spots ahead of Elliott and $100,000 richer. In addition, he remains the only driver eligible to win the $1 million bonus for winning all four Dash4Cash races.

Busch won the race, followed by Ryan Blaney, rookie Daniel Suarez, Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler. JRM teammate Kevin Harvick was sixth, followed by Kyle Larson, Smith, Ty Dillon and Elliott.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 America’s Power team
“It isn’t pretty how we’re getting it done, but all that matters is we are getting it done. I’ve got to thank my guys for working hard all weekend. We didn’t have the speed we wanted at the start, but they kept busting their butts to find anything we could and they made a good strategy for us. I was doubting it for a little while, and it worked out for Jason. I’m proud of him for that. We’re going to keep working hard. We had three races today. The first was trying to win the race, and it was pretty obvious this weekend that the speed wouldn’t be there to do that. The next race was to win the $100,000 and beat the guys we had to beat to do that, and the third was to finish ahead of the 60 car. We did two of the three. I appreciate XFINITY and having a series sponsor that is that invested in wanting to help their teams out and see their teams battle it out for something special, a little something extra. We’ll got Bristol with a chance at another $100,000.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
Lilly Diabetes 250

  Start 14th
  Finish 8th
  Laps Completed (Led) 100 of 100 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 36 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 4th (-51)
  Condition (Status) Running