Smith Conquers the Monster Mile

JR Motorsports | 10/3/2015

Alpha Energy Solutions Ben Rhodes Chase Elliott Dover Fire Alarm Services NAPA News Regan Smith Victory Lane XFINITY Series

Regan Smith earned his second win of the 2015 season as he took home the checkered flag in Saturday's race at Dover International Speedway.

Race 28 of 33: Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway

Track Specs: 1.0-mile oval / 200 laps

Weather:  Cloudy, 60 degrees

Race Winner: Regan Smith

Elliott’s finish: 7th

Rhodes’ finish:  13th

Regan Smith 

On a rainy day in Delaware, Regan Smith and the Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet opened up a big can of sunshine by winning the Hisense 200 and jumping squarely back into the hunt for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.

Solid pit strategy that allowed him to race with the lead despite a dwindling supply of fuel as the laps wound down helped Smith earn his second NXS victory of the season and the sixth of his career, and it put him into third place in the series points, just 36 behind leader Chris Buescher and 12 markers behind JRM teammate Chase Elliott. The six career victories for JRM ties him with Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski for the most in team history and he has two multi-win seasons in three for JRM.

Smith took the lead for the first time on lap 121, just after the final restart of the race, and held off Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch over the final 80 laps to earn the 26th victory for JR Motorsports. Once Smith was able to use the clean air that comes with being the leader, he was in the wind and worked traffic and fuel-saving all the way to Victory Lane.

It wasn’t without some drama, however, as Smith last brought the Fire Alarm Services Camaro down pit lane under caution on lap 110. He came off fourth, gaining one spot thanks to a blistering stop by the No. 7 crew, and just after the field formed up again, a light rain began to fall. The red flag came out on lap 115 and stayed out for 30 minutes, which set up what turned out to be the final restart of the race on lap 120.

On that restart, Hamlin spun his tires, which allowed Smith to clear him on the high side and stalled the lower line. That put Smith on the rear bumper of leader Elliott Sadler, who had taken two tires on the pit stop. One lap later, Smith dived past Sadler into the lead and he held it to the finish. Hamlin, also conserving fuel toward the end, gave a couple of hard pushes for the lead, mostly in traffic, but couldn’t get past. HE got under Smith heading into Turn 1, but Smith was able to keep him behind and stretched the lead even more after that. Crew chief Jason Burdett played the strategy out to the hilt, telling Smith to start saving a little bit of fuel over the final 15 laps, and it was enough to earn a victory. It was JRM’s first triumph at Dover since Keselowski won back in 2009.

Early in the race, there was a scare when Smith reported the left rear tire was flat. Having just come to pit road under caution, Smith picked up some debris from a crash and cut it, necessitating another trip down pit road to replace the left-side tires. He restarted 24th and worked his way back near the front in relatively short order.

Hamlin was second, followed by Busch, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Fire Alarm Services team

“The restart was the key. I just wanted to be on the outside of the 54 [Busch] going into Turn 1, but I guess the 20 [Hamlin] spun his tires. When the 1 [Sadler] took off, I took off. I thought I was going to pass the 1 before we even got to the first turn. He was on two [tires], so I knew I would have the opportunity to pass him a little bit later on. Once I got to the lead and the clean air, it was great. I set sail, and they made a charge at me at one point in lapped traffic when I got jammed up a little. I was able to pinch Denny down on the bottom just a little and keep it out in front of him. It was fun racing him, but I was glad to have that 10-car-length gap coming to the white flag. I didn’t really want to duke it out if I didn’t have to. I am so proud of this race team and all the guys on the Fire Alarm car. They have worked really hard all year long. It has been a long time coming on the ovals for us this year. We’ve had some good cars, but hadn’t sealed the deal. I was proud to be able to do it today. It was nice to lead a lot of laps, show a little muscle. Holding off two JGR cars, and Kyle Busch is the man here…I didn’t know if we could run with them, but I wanted to get back to them to see where our car stacked up. Any time you beat them at Dover, you’ve worked your tail off. I know how hard my team has been working on these cars, the amount of effort they put in every week. We feel like we’ve had four or five of these to this point in the year, and circumstances have made us finish third or second. This is a big deal for us.”

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished seventh in Saturday’s Hisense 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Dover International Speedway.  It was Elliott’s series leading 22nd top-10 finish, leapfrogging him over Ty Dillon for sole possession of second place in the championship standings.  Elliott trails Chris Buescher by 24 points with five races remaining in the 2015 season.  JR Motorsports (JRM) driver Regan Smith led once for 80 laps on his way to his sixth career NXS victory.

The bizarre weekend for Elliott, which featured multiple weather threats, began with practice and qualifying both being cancelled due to inclement weather.  Elliott started the 200-lap race from his owners points position of sixth-place and would power inside the top-five by lap two.  The 19-year old second-year driver for JRM reported his NAPA KNOW HOW machine was dialed in from the beginning.  One concern was his rear stability started diminishing as laps ticked off.  Crew chief Ernie Cope took advantage of the two competition cautions, within the race’s first half, by hooking Elliott’s NAPA Chevrolet up when he came down pit road.  The NAPA crew, as usual, executed prompt stops and kept Elliott up front all afternoon long.

Just as the weather looked like it may ease up on the 40-car field, a pop up shower dropped by Dover while the field was under a lap-112 caution.  The 33-minute red flag froze the competition and Elliott would wait it out in the fifth position on pit road.  Once the jet dryers soaked up the moisture, Elliott would take the race’s final green flag with 82 laps remaining.  Unfortunately, for Elliott and the No. 9 team, they were unable to run full throttle in the last 30 laps due to being a lap and a half short on fuel.  Elliott maintained the best he could for a seventh-place finish, one position better than Buescher for a solid points day.

Smith bested Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson for his second NXS victory in 2015 and JRM’s 26th career win. 

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“Today wasn’t really any different than normal going into the race without having turned a lap in practice or qualifying.  I thought my NAPA AUTO PARTS team did a really good job with the circumstances this weekend considering the weather at Dover.  The splitter was right on point and overall I thought the car drove really well.  Unfortunately we just didn’t have enough gas to run the closing laps really hard.  We wanted to try and save as much fuel as we could to make it to the end.  We were about a lap and a half short.  It’s so hard to say how much we were off, just wanted to be on the safe side.  It’s tough, there’s such a fine line with risk versus reward there and with five races to go we wanted to be on the safe side.”

Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes and the No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team battled back from a series of misfortunes on Saturday at Dover International Speedway to earn a 13th-place finish in the Hisense 200.

Rain throughout the weekend washed out practice and qualifying at the Monster Mile, and the field was set by owner points. Rhodes took the green flag in 11th position, making his first start at Dover in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The rookie JR Motorsports driver battled a loose car early in the race, thanks to persistent rain that washed the track clean of rubber earlier in the day. Despite the loose condition, Rhodes moved up to ninth in just 15 laps, but lost control and spun coming off Turn 4 to bring out the caution flag.

Rhodes brought the car to pit road and the Alpha Energy Solutions team went to work repairing damage on the right rear and toe after impact with the wall. Rhodes restarted in 18th, one lap down, after completing two pit stops under the yellow, the latter to serve a pit-road speeding penalty.

Throughout the race, the team continued to work on the car and after receiving the free pass, Rhodes was able to climb back up to ninth place by the halfway point of the 200-lap race. The fourth yellow flag of the day waved at lap 106 and Rhodes headed to pit road. The crew performed a fast stop, making a track-bar adjustment, changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. Rhodes exited pit road in eighth, but received another pit road penalty for speeding on the exit.

Under the caution, rain started to fall, bringing out the red flag for just over 30 minutes. Once the cars rolled back onto the track, Rhodes headed down pit road to serve the penalty and pack the No. 88 Chevy with fuel. Restarting at the tail end of the lead lap with just 82 circuits to go, Rhodes steadily worked his way up to 12th. The additional fuel came in handy as the race would go green until the until the checkered flag. In the final laps, Rhodes radioed to the team that the car was very loose and thought a rear tire might be going down. Rhodes stayed out, however, and held on to finish 13th, one lap down.

Rhodes’ JRM teammate Regan Smith took home the victory, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.

Ben Rhodes, driver No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team

“Our No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy was fast right off the hauler, considering we had no practice. I was a little loose to begin with and got loose on the exit of the turn early in the race. I went to correct it and I hit the apron and lost control. I think if I had taken better care of the car, our team would have had a better finish. The track was changing on us and later in the last run, I just didn’t stay ahead of the track. This was my first start here at Dover in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and without any practice, it was difficult for me to say the least. I know I can do a lot better. The team deserves better for all the hard work they put into it. I want to run well. There are a lot of guys that come and go and I don’t want to be one of them. I’m looking forward to climbing back into the car at Homestead and hopefully bring home a solid finish in my final start of the season for JR Motorsports.”

 

 

No. 7 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith  

Start

8th 

Finish

1st

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (80)

Points (Bonus)

47 (4)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-36)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

6th

Finish

7th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

37 (0)

Standings (from leader)

2rd (-24)

Status

Running 

 

 

No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions

Chevrolet Camaro

Ben Rhodes

Start

11th

Finish

13th

Laps Completed (Led)

199 of 200 (0)

Owner Standings (from leader)

11th (-202)

Status

Running

 

Articles

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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