Regan Smith pulls away to dramatic XFINITY win at Dover

 

DOVER, DE - OCTOBER 03:  Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway on October 3, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

DOVER, DE – OCTOBER 03: Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway on October 3, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. – Regan Smith charged from fourth to first during a restart on Lap 121 and stayed there for the rest of the Hisense 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway Saturday, posting his second victory of the season and working his way back into championship contention.

After a 31-minute rain delay, Smith passed Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and leader Elliott Sadler on the restart on Lap 121 of 200, staved off intense pressure from Hamlin midway through the final green-flag run and pulled away as the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates battled for second place.

Without a concrete deal in place for next season, Smith won for the first time at the Monster Mile—in fact, the 80 laps he led were the first circuits he had ever spent out front at Dover. The victory was the sixth of Smith’s career, and all of them have come under the JR Motorsports banner.

Hamlin won the fight for the runner-up spot, crossing the finish line .703 seconds behind Smith. Busch led a race-high 110 laps and came home third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.

Austin Dillon ran sixth, one spot ahead of Chase Eliiott, who moved into second place in the series standings, 24 points behind leader Chris Buescher, who finished eighth on Saturday. Smith, who rallied from a flat tire in the first third of the race, took over third in points, 36 behind Buescher.

“I knew the car was fast, but I didn’t know it was that fast until we got out in clean air,” Smith said in Victory Lane. “This wasn’t a Hail May. We came from the back to the front and just had a fast race car.

“If we can keep doing that every week, and get another win or two here or there, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m trying to figure out some things for next year, so wins never hurt—that’s never a bad thing going forward.”

A victory for Smith was not even a remote consideration when a light rain began falling shortly after the halfway point, with the race already under caution for a wreck involving Stanton Barrett and Cale Conley on Lap 106.

Sadler, whose 2016 move to JR Motorsports was announced on Friday, took two new tires under the yellow and was first off pit road, leading the race and praying for a monsoon. But the rain abated, depriving Sadler of a going-away present to Roush Fenway Racing, the organization he will leave at season’s end.

“I’ve never had much luck with the rain,” Sadler said ruefully. “I’ve always been on the wrong side of that, going back to the 2009 Daytona 500 (where Sadler was fifth with a chance to win when the race was called because of rain after 152 laps).”

Note: Ty Dillon cut a tire and hit the outside wall on Lap 24, resulting in a 28th-place finish. He slipped from second to fourth in the series standings, 39 points back of Buescher.

Byron notches East title; D4D member Cabre wins first Race

For William Byron, an extra day was worth the wait at the Monster Mile.

After the Drive Sober 125 was postponed Friday due to inclement weather, and the start was delayed again Saturday morning, the 17-year-old NASCAR Next member from Charlotte, N.C., was finally able to drive his No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish and raise the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship trophy Saturday afternoon at Dover International Speedway.

The rain delay didn’t slow down Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Collin Cabre, as the 21-year-old from Tampa scored his first career victory.

Cabre became the sixth different driver from the NASCAR Drive For Diversity program to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race and gave Rev Racing, which has fielded the competition team for the program since 2010, its 17th win.

Cabre’s No. 2 UTI/NTI Toyota crossed the finish line 6.454 seconds in front of series veteran Eddie MacDonald’s Chevrolet.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Hisense 200
Dover International Speedway
Dover, Delaware
Saturday, October 03, 2015

1. (8) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200, $49402.
2. (7) Denny Hamlin(i), Toyota, 200, $35586.
3. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200, $34950.
4. (1) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200, $30183.
5. (15) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 200, $22698.
6. (5) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200, $21077.
7. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200, $27457.
8. (3) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, $28315.
9. (10) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 200, $25816.
10. (13) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 200, $27362.
11. (9) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Ford, 199, $25158.
12. (19) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 199, $25031.
13. (11) Ben Rhodes, Chevrolet, 199, $24931.
14. (16) Ryan Reed, Ford, 199, $24803.
15. (23) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 198, $25328.
16. (14) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 198, $24652.
17. (21) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 196, $24576.
18. (22) David Starr, Toyota, 196, $24526.
19. (26) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 195, $24475.
20. (20) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 195, $24925.
21. (17) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 194, $24369.
22. (27) Eric McClure, Toyota, 190, $24263.
23. (24) Blake Koch, Toyota, 187, $24186.
24. (28) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 187, $24111.
25. (36) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 185, $18210.
26. (30) Ryan Ellis(i), Chevrolet, 132, $24009.
27. (32) Harrison Rhodes #, Chevrolet, Suspension, 126, $23959.
28. (4) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 115, $23883.
29. (25) Cale Conley #, Toyota, Accident, 103, $23808.
30. (34) Stanton Barrett, Ford, Accident, 100, $24057.
31. (12) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, Accident, 80, $23701.
32. (35) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, Accident, 79, $23640.
33. (38) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Suspension, 72, $17575.
34. (33) Josh Reaume #, Dodge, Parked, 72, $23540.
35. (40) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 39, $17499.
36. (29) TJ Bell(i), Toyota, Suspension, 38, $21806.
37. (18) Ross Chastain #, Chevrolet, Accident, 23, $20806.
38. (39) Dexter Bean, Chevrolet, Suspension, 17, $13806.
39. (37) Carl Long, Chevrolet, Suspension, 10, $12806.
40. (31) Jeff Green, Toyota, Suspension, 4, $11806.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  105.156 mph.
Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 54 Mins, 07 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.703 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  4 for 29 laps.
Lead Changes:  5 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders:    0; K. Busch(i) 1-29; J. Yeley 30-31; K. Busch(i) 32-112; E. Sadler 113-120; R. Smith 121-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch(i) 2 times for 110 laps; R. Smith 1 time for 80 laps; E. Sadler 1 time for 8 laps; J. Yeley 1 time for 2 laps.
Top 10 in Points: C. Buescher – 1,018; C. Elliott – 994; R. Smith – 982; T. Dillon – 979; E. Sadler – 908; D. Wallace Jr. # – 907; D. Suarez # – 886; B. Scott – 870; B. Gaughan – 864; R. Reed – 765.

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