Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Bank of America ROVAL 400
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
DRIVER: Regan Smith
CAR: No. 95 Procore Camaro ZL1
- Charlotte Motor Speedway shook up the 2018 schedule when they announced that their Fall race weekend would compete on a road course that was a highbred of their 1.5-mil oval combined with an infield track that included two chicanes. The 2.28-mile circuit was dubbed the ROVAL and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams entered the weekend with a lot of question marks in their race notebooks. The No. 95 Procore team had participated in an open test for the series earlier in the season, but not with their substitute driver, Regan Smith behind the wheel. The team spent Friday learning what they could in regards to the handling challenges that would be needed for all 17 turns, but the team missed out on practice time Saturday after they were forced to change motors. Smith started Sunday’s race from 32nd, and after the team worked to stretch their fuel mileage in a strategy play, they also avoided getting caught up in a late-race melee. The Procore Camaro ZL1 drove away with a top-15 run in the inaugural running of the ROVAL course.
- Sunday’s 109-lap Bank of America 400 took the green flag at 2:10 p.m. EST with Smith starting from 32nd. During the opening laps of the event, the Procore Chevy only improved to 31st as Smith told his team that the car “can’t change directions” and was “lacking drive off.” A caution at lap 13 allowed Smith to further discuss the handling with crew chief Jon Leonard. “Wheel spin’s the major issue off of Turn 17” Smith reported as he also told the team that the Procore Chevy was losing drive off as the run went along. The team hit pit road for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment before Smith lined up in 33rd for the restart to begin lap 17.
- Stage 1 came to a close after lap 25, and Smith ended the stage running in 26th. The yellow flag gave Smith and Leonard more time to debrief on the car’s handling as Smith said that he couldn’t touch the throttle because of the loaded tightness, but that the loose-handling was a bigger issue at the time. The Procore team performed another four-tire stop with adjustments under the caution, and Smith restarted in 34th. On lap 37, Smith was called in for four tires and fuel as Leonard asked his driver to save fuel as the team had planned to vary their pit strategy and stretch their fuel runs.
- Stage 2 ended following lap 50 as Smith told the team “it’s bouncing over the bumps and wheel-hopping in Turn 4.” Leonard told his driver that they were going to continue to stick to the plan, so the team stayed out during the caution, and Smith lined up in 18th with the Procore Chevy for the restart that began the final stage of the race. Lap 59 saw the caution flag appear due to the No. 3 as Smith reported that the No. 95 machine had “no grip and the back of the car is swinging.” The team serviced the car with four tires, fuel, and a pair of longer adjustments before the race returned to green to begin lap 62.
- Stage 3 went on with Smith and the team working on fuel conservation while also making sure that the Procore Chevy continued to stay ahead of its nearby competitors. The team pitted on lap 70 for four tires and fuel, as they focused on saving fuel. Green-flag pit stops began to cycle around lap 87, but the Procore team stuck to the game plan they had made leading into the race. Smith was running in 25th with under 20 laps remaining as teams continued to monitor their fuel levels hoping to stretch their limits to the end. Unfortunately, the fuel mileage strategy went out the window when the caution came out on lap 101. The team opted to pit for fresh tires, as well as adjustments for the Procore Chevy, since the field would be bunched back up for the restart. Smith was tagged with a speeding penalty following the stop that dropped the No. 95 into 29th for the restart.
- Smith and his team were frustrated with the penalty, but it turned out to be a benefit when the field restarted to begin lap 104. As the field took the green and took off into Turn 1, a multi-car incident occurred at the front of the field ultimately damaging15 cars, and forcing the race to be red-flagged for over 14 minutes. Smith was able to avoid getting caught up in any of the contact since he was further back in the field. Once the track was cleaned up, the Procore Chevy lined up in 18th for the restart to begin lap 107 with just three laps left in the race. Smith was able to improve three positions in those final laps to earn a top-15 finish despite a challenging day.
- Ryan Blaney earned the victory in a stunning finish after the top-2 cars collected each other in the final turns of the course coming to the checkered flag. Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Alex Bowman, and Kurt Busch rounded out Sunday’s top-five finishers, while Smith was scored with a 15th-place finish in his No. 95 Procore Chevrolet.
2018 Season Summary:
Starts - 29
Wins - 0
Top 5’s - 1
Top 10’s - 1
Poles - 0
Gander Outdoors 400
Dover International Speedway (1.0-mile road course)
Sunday, October 7, 2018