Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Federated Auto Parts 400
TRACK: Richmond Raceway
DRIVER: Regan Smith
CAR: No. 95 FDNY Foundation Camaro ZL1
- Regan Smith and the No. 95 team traveled to the short track of Richmond Raceway for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 with a paint scheme that featured the FDNY Foundation. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams had two practice sessions, as well as qualifying on Friday, before Saturday night’s event. During Friday’s sessions, Smith and his team worked on various race trim set-ups in order to try and find a combination that they felt might work best for the varied and challenging corners of the 0.75-mile track. Handling defied the No. 95 throughout the entire weekend however, and after having to start the race from 39th, Smith was scored with a 31st-place finish despite endless attempts by his team to find adjustments that resolved the issues.
- Saturday’s 400-lap race took the green flag at 7:36 p.m. EST as the No. 95 FDNY Foundation Chevy started from 39th. Smith was able to quickly make up positions within the opening laps of the race when he improved to 32nd on Lap 2. During the opening run, Smith radioed in to crew chief Jon Leonard that his Camaro ZL1 was tight in the middle, loose in, and was lacking drive off. Smith drove up to 29th before green-flag pit stops began to cycle through the field starting around Lap 51. The No. 95 team had opted prior to the race to try and stretch their fuel run as they hoped that a caution would come the longer the laps went on, but the race continued to run under green. At lap 68, Leonard told Smith that the team’s new plan was to see if they could stretch their run until the end of Stage 1 following Lap 100.
- The caution came out to end Stage 1 after lap 100, and it allowed Smith to further discuss the FDNY Foundation Chevy’s handling for the first run of the race. Smith told his team that the car had continued to be “really loose in the corners, tight in the middle, and lacked drive off.” Smith hit pit road for four tires, fuel, and several chassis adjustments on the team’s first stop of the night.
- The race returned to green to begin Stage 2 and Lap 110 with Smith running in 29th. Shortly into the run, Smith told his team that the FDNY Foundation Chevy was “dart-y in and off” and that the adjustments hadn’t helped the middle even though the drive off was a little better. The race continued under green, and Leonard called his driver in for service on lap 158 for another four-tire stop with a slew of changes. Stage 2 came to an end following Lap 200 with the No. 95 in 29th. Under the caution, Smith told his team “it’s freeing up a lot now finally, but I might need help in and off if you do similar changes.” The middle of the FDNY Foundation Chevy was turning better, but looseness in and being free off continued to hinder the team’s advancement through the field.
- The race returned to green to start Lap 210 with Smith in 29th. Shortly after the restart, Smith dipped back into 31st as he told the team that he was fighting all the same challenges in his car; loose in and off, as well as no drive off. Another round of green-flag pit stops began to cycle around lap 265 and Smith was called in for service on lap 278. The team worked endlessly to make adjustments aimed at helping with the handling woes, and on Lap 297, Smith radioed in to his team “that’s probably the best it’s been through the corner in a while.”
- Another series of green-flag pit stops began around lap 320, but a caution came out on lap 326 after the No. 96 spun. Smith told the team that the FDNY Foundation Chevy was “the best it’s fired off, but it’s hitting the splitter too hard. Directionally, we’re going the right way on adjustments.” The team took the wavearound under the caution hoping that another caution would come before the end of the race, but without a yellow flag, Leonard was forced to call his driver in for one final stop on lap 349 under green.
- Kyle Busch drove to victory Saturday night at Richmond while Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Chase Elliott, and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-five finishers. Smith and his No. 95 FDNY Foundation Chevy were scored with a 31st-place finish.
2018 Season Summary:
Starts - 28
Wins - 0
Top 5’s - 1
Top 10’s - 1
Poles - 0
Bank of America ROVAL 400
Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (2.28-mile road course)
Sunday, September 30, 2018