Top-10 For Smith In Darlington

Despite an early run to the top five, Regan Smith and the TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet had to settle for a top-10 finish in the VFW Help a Hero 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series event at historic Darlington Raceway.

Starting from eighth place, Smith used a great initial start to jump up to the fourth spot by lap 10 and held there until the competition caution flag waved on lap 25. A solid pit stop for four tires, fuel and an adjustment put him back on track with a chance to move higher. On the restart, however, he lost a spot to a charging Kyle Busch and settled into fifth for the next green-flag run.

Meanwhile, the front end of the TaxSlayer Bowl Camaro was getting tighter and tighter, and Smith started to lose time in turns one and two. That would play a part in the next on-track battle, which happened to be with point leader Chris Buescher. After many laps of probing, Buescher finally got past on the 44th lap. It went back and forth between the two, and with a caution sandwiched in, the two battled until lap 83, when Buescher got past to stay.

Meanwhile, Smith was still struggling with a tight condition, which was costing him time. Crew chief Jason Burdett made more adjustments, but it wasn’t enough to move Smith forward in the running order. Smith moved back into the top five as the laps wound down and other competitors pitted for fuel to make it to the end, but still had to come to pit road for his own strop. He did so with 12 laps left in the 147-lap event, returning in 11th place. He passed two more cars in the time remaining to earn his 17th top-10 finish in 24 races.

The result kept Smith and the TaxSlayer Bowl team in fourth place in points, 54 behind Buescher with nine races remaining.

Denny Hamlin won the race, followed by Busch, rookie Daniel Suarez, JRM teammate Kevin Harvick and Buescher.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer Bowl team

“We ran as hard as we could today, and we were around the top four or five early on, but the more the run went on, the tighter I got. That really hindered my ability to gain spots, and we never could get the tight condition out of it. We ran in the top 10 all day, but could never quite get far enough ahead to challenge for the top five and the victory. Darlington is my favorite track, and I was hoping we could give the TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet a trip to Victory Lane today. We’ll try to do that again next week at Richmond.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
VFW Help A Hero 200

  Start 8th
  Finish 9th
  Laps Completed (Led) 147 of 147 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 35 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 4th (-54)
  Condition (Status) Running