Smith gains momentum for title with Xfinity victory


Regan Smith celebrates his victory in the Xfinity Hisense 200 at Dover. (Special to the Delaware State News / Gene Shaner)

DOVER — Regan Smith could leave JR Motorsports with one heck of a parting gift.

Smith wants to stay with his NASCAR Xfinity Series team in next year, but if he has to go, he’d gladly take a championship trophy with him.

Smith strengthened his championship push with a victory Saturday at Dover International Speedway and moved within serious striking distance of the points lead.

“I’m trying to figure some things out for next year, so wins never hurt,” Smith said. “That’s never a bad thing going forward.”

Smith won for the second time this season and moved within 36 points of series leader Chris Buescher with five races left in the season.

He would love to add a championship to his resume. He faces an uncertain future with JR Motorsports after the organization signed Elliott Sadler for next season. JRM also fields a car for defending series champion Chase Elliott and has a multi-driver car.

Crew chief Jason Burdett picked up a win — and an impostor. The man, who was not identified but said he was a big NASCAR fan, sat at the Dover media center press conference table and answered three questions before he was shooed away by a NASCAR spokesman.

Denny Hamlin was second, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.

“You can’t pass here. You know there’s no outside grove to get going on anything,” Busch said.

Buescher finished eighth and has a 24-point lead over Elliott.

“There’s plenty of racing left and this thing is far from over,” Buescher said. “If we just go out and run our race and try not to worry too much about the points, we should be in good shape.”

Ty Dillon is in rough shape after he tumbled from second to fourth in the standings after an early wreck dropped him to 28th in the race. Dillon’s No. 4 Chevrolet blew a tire and smacked the wall.

“All of a sudden I heard, ‘Pow!’” he said.

He was out of the car before the rain hit that red flagged the race for 31 minutes. Smith took the lead off the restart and led 80 of 200 laps.

Sadler, who finished ninth, held the lead when the race was halted. Sadler lost the lead moments before rain hit and caution came to deny him a win in the 2009 Daytona 500.

Collin Cabre claims first win

in K&N Pro Series East race

DOVER — Dover International Speedway has a well-known reputation for being a little kinder to drivers that have turned laps on it before. Its unique banking and concrete surface present an interesting challenge to all drivers, especially the unseasoned.

Don’t tell that to Collin Cabre, though. In his first start at the Monster Mile, Cabre collected his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win in Saturday’s “Drive Sober 125″ presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

The race took the green flag a day late, as it was originally scheduled for Friday but postponed due to torrential rains. Cabre was unsure if the race would be run at all, with storms still in the area Saturday morning.

“It was a long weekend,” he said. “We sat all day watching cartoons in the hotel yesterday. It’s nice to come out here and get things done, and put this thing in Victory Lane.”

Cabre’s first win elicited an excited response from his fellow competitors, as several drivers dropped by Sunoco Victory Lane to congratulate him.

“It’s a great experience to have your competitors and teammates come up and congratulate you,” he said. “We might drive hard, and bump and rub, but at the end of the day we’re all good people and respect each other.”

While celebrations were ongoing in Sunoco Victory Lane for Cabre, another party was happening in the infield, as William Byron captured the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title with a ninth-place finish, edging out Scott Heckert for the championship.

“I was pretty tense in the car because I’ve never practiced at Dover,” Byron said. “I was trying as hard as I could to keep position and finish the race the best we could. We just kept our focus the whole race until we crossed the finish line, and knew we couldn’t let up at all.”

Byron’s four wins were tops in the series this season, and he entered the race with a 13-point lead over Heckert.

Facebook Comment