Conditions Right For Top-5 Finish In Kansas

On a day when not a whole lot seemed to go right for the TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, the last 10 laps of the Kansas Lottery 300 went just the way it had to for Regan Smith and the team to log a fifth-place finish. The result allowed the No. 7 team to carry some momentum into the final three races of the season.

A very loose Chevrolet Camaro gave Smith fits all day long. No matter which adjustments crew chief Jason Burdett threw at it, the car remained loose for the most part and tight when it wasn’t. Despite the struggle, Smith found himself in position for a top-10 finish on the final restart.

Joey Gase blew an engine on lap 194, bringing out the caution flag and setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Smith, who had restarted 21st on the previous caution at lap 156 when an uncontrolled tire drew the attention of NASCAR officials, had climbed all the way to 11th when the final caution waved. That pit stop on lap 154 turned out to be critical, as Burdett packed the car as full of fuel as he could and made a big swing on a track bar adjustment to tighten the car up.

During the extended clean-up for Gase’s engine, Brian Scott ran out of fuel and JRM teammate Kevin Harvick had to pit for a splash to get to the finish. That put Smith ninth for the restart, and as the field roared under the green flag, Austin Dillon’s car ran dry and bottled up the field behind him. Smith leaped for the gap and made it stick, emerging from the confusion in fifth place. He held on to the finish, earning his 11th top-five and 23rd top-10 finish of the season. It was also his fourth straight top-five finish, which kept him third in the standings, now just 33 behind leader Chris Buescher with three races remaining in the season. He is just six points out of second place as well.

Kyle Busch won the race, followed by Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Ty Dillon and Smith.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer.com team
“I don’t know how we got to a fifth-place finish. We got the car better on that last long run. We were just really loose all day long, but the more the temperatures cooled off, the more the sun went down, the looser we got. We kept taking big swings at it, but we couldn’t keep up with it and get it where it needed to be. I think I hit the wall at least 10 times today, and that wasn’t too fun. Of those 10, at least five of them should have resulted in a cleaned-out race car, so I guess we were fortunate to even finish this thing and get a fifth-place finish for TaxSlayer and all our partners. I want to keep the pressure on the 60 car and finish strong these last three races.”

Regan Smith Race Report:
Kansas Lottery 300

  Start 3rd
  Finish 5th
  Laps Completed (Led) 204 of 204 (0)
  Points (Bonus) 39 (0)
  Standings (From Leader) 3rd (-33)
  Condition (Status) Running