Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; South Point 400
TRACK: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Regan Smith
CAR: No. 95 Procore Camaro ZL1
- For the second consecutive weekend, Regan Smith served as the substitute driver of the No. 95 Chevrolet while Kasey Kahne continues to work with physicians on a health plan for his return. The team was able to get three practices in, along with qualifying, as they worked together to get the Procore Chevrolet tuned up leading into Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With temperatures in the 100’s throughout the weekend, the team knew that the track would be slick as they worked on handling leading into the race and worked with Smith as to what he needed out of the Procore Chevy. Smith earned the 25th starting position, and the team decided to play an alternate strategy early on in the race that allowed them to stretch their fuel runs and found them earning a 12th-place finish.
- Sunday’s race at Las Vegas took the green flag at 12:21 p.m. PST as the No. 95 Procore Chevrolet started from 25th to begin the 400-mile event. Early in the opening run, Smith radioed in to crew chief Jon Leonard that the Procore Camaro ZL1 was “free off” and was “getting looser everywhere.” Smith settled in to 26th at the time as green-flag pit stops began to cycle through the field starting around lap 37. Leonard and Smith discussed a few possible adjustments for when the team would eventually hit pit road, but Leonard stuck with the team’s pit strategy plan to stretch their fuel run. As teams continued to cycle though stops, Smith and the No. 95 steadily climbed the scoreboard, and at Lap 40, Smith was scored as the race leader. The Procore Chevy led for a total of ten laps before the teams who had fresher tires began to gain the advantage, and Smith dipped back to fourth before he was called down pit road on lap 57. Four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment were made on the team’s first stop of the day.
- Following the stop, Smith told his team that the No. 95 was “too tight landing across the middle” and that he just “couldn’t go on stickers there” as Stage 1 came to an end following lap 80. Smith ended the stage in 29th as the team opted to stay out and take the wavearound under the caution. The race returned to green to begin Stage 2 at lap 88 with Smith scored in 29th. A few laps later, the caution came out due to the No. 17 car and it allowed the team to hit pit road for four tires, fuel, and another wedge adjustment. Over Stage 2, Smith told his team that they needed to take the wedge adjustments back out since the Procore Chevy “got the back out too much” from the first round of wedge adjustments. Over the runs, Leonard asked his driver to save fuel whenever possible since the team once again wanted to stretch their pit window.
- A caution at lap 148 allowed Smith to bring the Procore Chevy in for service as he had told the team that the car was “loose into Turn 1 and free up on the bottom.” Four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment were made, and the No. 95 machine restarted in 24th after he was scored as the ‘lucky dog” at the time. The race returned to green to start lap 157, and just a few laps later, Stage 2 came to a close following lap 160. Smith ended the stage in 23rd as he told the team that the Procore Chevy had “good grip on exit, but was too tight landing.”
- Following another four-tire stop with adjustments, Stage 3 took the green to begin lap 167, with 100 laps remaining in the race. Incidents began to occur in Stage 3 as cautions seemed to bring about more cautions. Smith was able to stay out of trouble though as he continued to battle handling in his Procore Camaro ZL1 during the stage. The No. 95 had become tight in the middle as Smith told his team on lap 216 that he wasn’t able to pass at the time. The team continued to make wedge and air pressure adjustments targeted at helping with the handling, but under a lap 233 caution, Smith told his team that he wasn’t sure what exactly to do next since many of the adjustments weren’t resolving the challenges at the time.
- A series of late-race cautions set up a green-white-checkered finish attempt as the field took the green to begin lap 266 in overtime with Smith in 17th. Unfortunately, an incident in Turn 3 involving several cars brought out the red flag for over ten minutes as officials cleaned up the track. The race eventually returned to green again to begin lap 271 and the Procore Chevy was scored in 14th. The second green-white-checkered attempt found Smith battle from the restart to gain two positions before the field took the checkered flag, and the No. 95 team left Vegas with a 12th-place finish.
- Brad Keselowski hit the jackpot on Sunday at Las Vegas as he drove away with the win and his third consecutive victory. Kyle Larson, Martin Truex, Jr., Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five finishers, while Smith earned a 12th-place finish and led for a total of ten laps in the process.
2018 Season Summary:
Starts - 27
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 1
Top 10's - 1
Poles - 0
Federated Auto Parts 400
Richmond Raceway (0.75-mile track)
Saturday, September 22, 2018