Smith and Tommy Baldwin Racing Kick off 2016 with Strong Top-10

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 23, 2016) -  In his debut race with Tommy Baldwin Racing, Regan Smith scored an 8th place finish for Baldwin, the team's first top-10 finish since 2013 and only the third in team history.

"What a great way to start the season," said Smith. "Tommy (Baldwin) has put together a really good program and we proved that today."

"We're not the only ones who get to celebrate. Our top-10 finish allows kids to eat free at Golden Corral tomorrow and that's really cool."

In the opening 20-laps of the 200-lap race, Smith avoided an accident in front of him with Chase Elliott but spun out as he hit the brakes. After pitting twice, fresh tires were the only repairs needed to the No. 7 Golden Corral / Nikko RC Chevrolet to keep in contention for the remainder of the race.

With less than 30 laps remaining, caution flew for an accident involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Baldwin made the call to bring Smith to pit road for four tires and fuel, a move that would give him fresher tires in the closing laps of the race.

When the final caution flag waved setting up a 12-lap shootout, Smith restarted just outside the top-10 and under caution he and Baldwin discussed how hungry they were for a "Top 10 Kids Eat Free" Monday at Golden Corral and that was added motivation.

"Going into the season I said that this was the most exciting I've seen our team in many years," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "Today, we've proven why. I feel like we were very prepared and everyone was on their game. We had no doubt that Regan was going to be a perfect fit for our organization on many levels and that too was evident by a top ten finish at Daytona. We're taking this momentum, going to Atlanta and continue to build our program to a point where we feel we deserve to be. I'm grateful for everyone's hard work and dedication."

Golden Corral has been a longtime sponsor and Nikko RC joined us at the end of last year. I'm glad we were able to give them a strong debut."

Smith and the No. 7 team travel to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. The race will be Sunday, February 28 with coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. (EST) on FOX.