Smith Earns Thrilling Win At Mid-Ohio

It had been 52 races since Regan Smith, driver of the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, had visited Victory Lane in a NASCAR XFINITY Series event for JR Motorsports. On Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Smith used a dramatic bump-and-run pass of Alex Tagliani on the final turn of the final lap to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200.

Driving a TaxSlayer.com car that featured a special purple paint scheme with the picture of 10-year-old Laynie Roll, a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who battles an involuntary muscle condition called dystonia, Smith lived up to Laynie’s prediction.  Earlier in the week, the precocious Laynie stated, “When Regan wins the race, I’ll cross the finish line first since my picture is on the hood!”

Laynie did cross the finish line first, but Smith was next, and he put the disappointment of the week before behind him to earn his first road-course victory, the fifth of his NXS career and first since Daytona in 2014. Laynie and her father were on the pit box for all 75 laps, and joined Smith and the TaxSlayer.com team in Victory Lane. With the triumph, Smith is now third on JR Motorsports’ XFINITY Series wins list behind Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, both of whom have six each.

Smith led 19 of the 75 laps, and appeared to have the race well in hand, but Tagliani got past into Turn 4 with 15 laps remaining. Smith maintained second place through two caution periods in the last 12 laps – the last of which set up the pivotal final restart with three laps to go. Smith stayed tucked up on Tagliani’s rear deck as they wound their way through the final two laps. As the two leaders flashed under the white flag, Smith inched closer. With two turns to go, Tagliani swung wide to open the door for Smith, who was committed to the bottom. Smith kept his foot in it, applied the bumper and made the pass.

When Smith’s purple-painted car emerged first from the exit of the Carousel, Smith’s crew erupted in cheers. Smith finished second last year at Mid-Ohio, behind current championship leader Chris Buescher. The victory is JRM’s 24th as a company in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer.com team

“This is an incredible feeling, just an awesome feeling! I’m so proud of my guys. They’ve stuck behind me.  We’ve had a lot of opportunities to win. I’ve been wrecked so many times on these road courses that I did what I had to do. I didn’t spin him, just got the spot. I could have dive-bombed him anywhere on the last lap, but I’ve had that happen to me a lot on these road courses and I wasn’t going to do it to Tags. I had to do what I had to do, and I didn’t wreck him. We’re going to celebrate hard tonight.  I’m so happy for Laynie.  She’s here in Victory Lane with us.  She goes through way more than any kid should have to go through. I told her before we started I was going to do everything we could to win the race today.  I’m happy for TaxSlayer. They are a great partner of ours at JR Motorsports. They allowed us to run this paint scheme and show support to these kids.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200

  Start 7th
  Finish 1st
  Laps Completed (Led) 75 of 75 (19)
  Points (Bonus) 47 (4)
  Standings (From Leader) 4th (-51)
  Condition (Status) Running