Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; AAA Texas 500
TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Regan Smith
CAR: No. 95 Procore Camaro ZL1
- With just three races remaining in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, teams traveled to Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend's event. The 1.5-mile track is considered a "home track" for Leavine Family Racing who's founding owners hail from the Lone Star State. Since the track's repave a few years ago, it's become a challenging place for teams since both ends of the track are completely different from each other. Teams are tested by handling at Texas, and Sunday's race was no different in that aspect. Smith started from 28th, and despite battling both loose and tight-handling conditions, went on to finish 27th.
- Sunday's AAA Texas 500 took the green flag to start the 500-mile event at 2:22 p.m. CST as Smith and the Procore Chevy rolled off from 28th. During the opening ten-lap run, Smith told crew chief Jon Leonard that the No. 95 was "too loose in 3 and 4, and too tight in 1 and 2" at the time. A competition caution was scheduled for lap 30 due to rain showers overnight in the area. As the team neared the first caution of the day, Smith asked his team to help him with getting the car "in and off of the corners." Four tires, fuel, and several chassis adjustments were made in an effort to help give the Procore Chevy more grip.
- The race returned to green with Smith running in 28th, and shortly after the restart, he told his team that the grip had started out much better with the adjustments that were made on the stop. By lap 53 however, the No. 95 machine had once again started to free up again as it had during the opening race run. As the race approached the end of Stage 1, Smith told his team that the biggest challenge for him at the time was that in Turns 3 and 4, "I can't keep the back under me." Stage 1 ended following lap 85 and Leonard told his driver that they were going to wavearound and then work on stretching their fuel window into Stage 2.
- The race returned to green to begin lap 93 with the Procore Chevy in 27th. The team caught a break early in Stage 2 when a caution came at lap 97 that allowed the No. 95 to hit pit road for a four-tire stop under the yellow flag. Smith restarted in 28th, but as the run went on, he told his team ‘the middle is tight and it's still loose in and off but the adjustments are helping." On lap 131, Smith called on over team radio that the Procore Chevy had a "big vibration." Leonard told his driver to keep him updated on it as he worked on target lap times that would allow the team to once again stretch their fuel window over Stage 2. Just as it looked like the team might be able to stretch their fuel until the end of Stage 2, Smith called out on the radio that the car was out of fuel on lap 167 and the Procore Chevy was forced to pit under greet on lap 168 right at the end of the stage.
- Tightness in the middle continued to challenge Smith in his Procore Chevy as the significant vibration in the right front of the car continued as well. Smith and the team continued their fight as they worked to try and determined what exactly was affecting their No. 95 machine as the track conditions themselves continued to change as the sun set behind the frontstretch grandstands. As more of the track kept getting shaded, loose-handling challenged teams as they all seemed to be searching for increased grip.
- A late-race incident in Turn 2 brought out the caution and sent the race into Overtime as Smith told his team "it's just so unbalanced right now that I'm not exactly tell if it's looseness or tightness that I'm fighting now." In the end, Smith was able to improve a few positions to finish 27th despite a challenging race due to handling in his No. 95.
- Kevin Harvick drove away with the win Sunday at Texas as he punched his ticket to the Championship 4 and a shot at the title in the Playoffs finale at Homestead as he claimed his eighth win of 2018. Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Erik Jones, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five finishers Sunday while Smith was scored in 27th with his No. 95 Procore Chevrolet.
2018 No. 95 Season Summary:
Starts - 34
Wins - 0
Top 5's - 1
Top 10's - 2
Poles - 0
ISM Raceway (1.0-mile)
Sunday, November 11th, 2018