Smith Earns Top-10 in the Windy City

JR Motorsports | 9/20/2015

Chase Elliott Chicago Great Clips Kasey Kahne NAPA News Race Report Regan Smith TaxSlayer XFINITY Series

Regan Smith finished ninth in Saturday's race at Chicagoland Speedway as Kasey Kahne finishes 12th and Chase Elliott finishes 14th.

Race 26 of 33: Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway

Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 200 laps

Weather:  Clear, 70 degrees

Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Smith’s Finish: 9th

Kahne’s finish:  12th

Elliott’s finish: 14th

Regan Smith

Regan Smith battled hard all night long Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway and came away with his 19th top-10 finish in 26 races.  In the last two laps, Smith pushed past both Brendan Gaughan and saw a top-five car pit to get him inside the top 10. The 19 top-10 finishes is second only to JRM teammate Chase Elliott’s 20 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season.

Rolling off from the ninth spot on the initial start, Smith gained a spot and held it until the first caution flag. Despite the solid performance, the handling on the No. 7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet vacillated between loose at the start and tight at the end of a run, and Smith rode the roller-coaster all evening.

The first pit stop of the day vaulted Smith to the top five, thanks to an 11.43-second pit stop for four tires, Sunoco racing fuel and a chassis adjustment. As the run progressed, the car tightened up and Smith tapped the wall with the right side of the TaxSlayer Bowl Camaro, with no significant damage.

He dropped to eighth in that run, and benefitted from a pair of stops on laps 72 and 87 to further massage the handling. Despite getting four tires on the first stop and another chassis adjustment, the car was too loose entering the corners on the 1.5-mile oval and getting looser on exit.

By lap 134, when another caution waved, Smith had a chance to come to pit road for tires and adjustments, and he left pit road in fifth spot. He stayed there and the car showed signs of life, with the changes fixing his entry issues. The caution waved again on lap 142, and crew chief Jason Burdett started making strategic moves. On lap 144, Smith gave up position to come to pit road for fuel only, as fuel mileage was becoming an issue. Burdett also called for Smith to save every drop of fuel he could.

Over the final 56 laps, Smith fell as far back as 12th while conserving fuel, and came up big in the final two laps by gaining two spots to finish in the top 10. After two straight weeks of gains on the point leader, the fourth-place Smith dropped two points at Chicagoland to trail by 51 points with seven races remaining. Another 1.5-mile oval, Kentucky Speedway, awaits next week.

Kyle Busch won the race, followed by Matt Kenseth, Darrell Wallace Jr., Paul Menard and Ty Dillon. Smith was ninth, while JRM teammates Kasey Kahne (12th) and Chase Elliott (14th) earned top-15 finishes.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer Bowl team

“It was a top-10 finish, and that’s good, but it’s not going to gain the kind of points we need to gain. The car had speed at times, but was just inconsistent in the way it responded to the changes Jason made to it. We had a good strategy, counting on a longer run and fuel mileage to get us higher in the order, and it worked to get us back in the top 10 there at the end. We just have to score every available point from here on out to close the gap between us and the point leader.”

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne and the No. 88 Great Clips team endured a challenging night in Saturday’s Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.  Despite battling handling issues for most of the night, the group still managed to salvage a hard-fought 12th-place finish.

From the drop of the green flag, Kahne battled an uncooperative car. Starting in the 14th position, Kahne flirted with the top 10 in the first part of the race and made it up to eighth during a long green-flag run. The car was loose and crew chief Dave Elenz worked with Kahne to see what adjustments would tighten up the car.

Finding the car’s balance came at a premium and adjustments either made the car too loose or too tight on the short runs. The car seemed more suited for longer green-flag runs.

Kahne spent a majority of the race cruising between the 11th and 14th position. Under the last caution, he entered pit road in 13th place. The crew managed to gain one spot with a fast stop and Kahne restarted 12th with 53 laps to go. Kahne still struggled with handling issues for the remainder of the race, but held on to finish in that same position.

Kyle Busch was the first to the stripe followed by Matt Kenseth, Darrell Wallace, Jr, Paul Menard and Ty Dillon in the NASCAR XFINITY race.

Dave Elenz, crew chief No. 88 Great Clips team

“We had a very disappointing night. We were not where we needed to be. We struggled really badly on our short runs and we were mediocre on our long runs. We had a tough night to say the least. We’ll have to get back to the shop and see what we had with the car to see what we can learn and move on to Kentucky.”

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished 14th in Saturday’s Furious 7 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Chicagoland Speedway. Elliott’s car began the day loose but after an adjusting pit stop, the NAPA AUTO PARTS machine found itself in the top-10 midway through the race.  Despite the team’s efforts to reign in the handling, Elliott’s condition progressively loosened and forced the team to settle for an uncharacteristic finish.

Elliott deemed their 17th starting position a surprise after his qualifying runs, commenting that the car felt great. He didn’t wait long to improve that position as the NAPA AUTO PARTS team quickly moved into the 13th position after the green flag waved. On the multi-groove Chicagoland Speedway, Elliott found himself hugging the white line in the bottom groove to begin the race.

Twenty laps into the race, Elliott reported a loose condition, telling crew chief Ernie Cope that his Chevrolet was loose in and loose off. A lap 22 caution for debris on the backstretch allowed the NAPA team to make a wedge adjustment and get fresh tires. Elliott entered the top-10 for the first time on lap 31 and relayed back to his team that his car was much better.

Around lap 62, Elliott felt his car tighten, especially in the middle of the corner.  Even with the condition, the NAPA AUTO PARTS team was a solid seventh when the race hit its halfway mark at lap 100. A caution flew shortly after the midway point and Cope made the call to bring the No. 9 Chevrolet down pit road.

As day turned to night, Elliott’s car increasingly became freer. The team dropped spots as a result, falling to 18th at one point in the race’s second half. A caution with 59 laps to go brought the NAPA machine down pit road one final time. Cope’s adjustments made the car tighter in the middle, similar to the setup they were running at the halfway point. With the changes, Elliott made strides in the final 50 laps, continuing to fight and improving on his track position in the race’s waning moments.

The finish puts Elliott third in the point standings, 28 points behind leader Chris Buescher. Kyle Busch won the race and was followed by Matt Kenseth, Darrell Wallace Jr., Paul Menard and Ty Dillon.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“I started off the day too loose but eventually the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet became consistently tight across the middle. Entry and exit were manageable but it was sometimes a struggle to get back to the gas because of the tight condition. Our NAPA team worked really hard, especially after qualifying. We fought all day long and we’ll continue to fight as the season moves forward. We’re still focused on that ultimate prize and we’ll turn our focus to Kentucky.”

 

 

No. 7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

9th  

Finish

9th   

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

35 (0)

Standings (from leader)

4th (-51)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 88 Great Clips

Chevrolet Camaro

Kasey Kahne

Start

14th

Finish

12th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Owner Standings (from leader)

9th (-159)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

17th

Finish

14th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

30 (0)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-28)

Status

Running 

 

Articles

image

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 23 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 30 01:00 PM ET
    Mid-Ohio 170Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • June 6 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 13 08:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 20 04:00 PM ET
    Chicagoland 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After LS Tractor 200

Phoenix Raceway | 3/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Harrison Burton #1760
2Chase Briscoe173-3
3Austin Cindric155-21
4Brandon Jones148-28
5Ross Chastain146-30
6Noah Gragson143-33
7Ryan Sieg143-33
8Justin Haley140-36
9Justin Allgaier138-38
10Michael Annett119-57