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Regan Smith Pads NNS Points Lead By Winning Michigan

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 15 2013

Veteran Regan Smith held of young Kyle Larson to win Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Michigan. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

Nationwide Series points leader Regan Smith earned his second victory of the season Saturday by holding off Kyle Larson to win the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway.

Parker Kligerman gambled rain would end the race short of the scheduled 125 laps but lost the lead when he had to pit with 13 to go. That opened the door for Smith, who kept his No. 7 Chevy ahead of a charging Larson in the final 10 laps.

There was no caution flag after Austin Dillon brushed the wall with five laps to go and Larson, who was steadily gaining on Smith in the closing laps, never got a chance to take the lead.

“Yeah,” Kligerman said, “we played it perfectly for that situation and I’m not down on Eric (Phillips, crew chief) or anyone about that. I was fully for it, but it sucks when you run top-five all day. This Bandit Chippers Camry right in front of a Bandit Chippers home crowd and a car that could win on speed alone and — we drove away from the field there — and it just didn’t go our way. There was debris everywhere the last 20 laps. Of course, no one threw a caution, so we ran out of fuel and finished wherever we finished. Disappointing day result-wise, but a lot of positives in terms of the speed we had in our Camry and we’ll get them next time.”

Sprint Cup Series regulars Paul Menard, Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top-five finishers.

“I thought we were going to get that 1,00th win to be honest,” Bayne said, referring to the 1,000 win by Ford. “The car just got too loose while we were leading there. A couple guys got by me and it got real sketchy with the 33, otherwise I think we would have had a shot at the 7 (Smith). They were better than us at the end of the run but Mike Kelley did a good job getting our track position back after we got loose there that one time. It stinks we didn’t get the win this weekend but we will keep fighting hard.”

It was the second win of the season and fourth career series win for Smith, who also was first at Talladega in early May.

Drivers qualified under warm conditions earlier in the day but took the green flag under overcast, muggy skies that made the track slick. The forecast was threatening, but rain never came.

Pole winner Dillon looked strongest in the first half of the race but opted not to pit with the rest of the lead pack after a lap 64 caution. A flat left rear tire soon dropped him a lap down and he ended the day 20th after his late-race contact with the wall.

Dillon set a new track qualifying record with a lap of 191.882 mph earlier in the day to earn his fourth straight Coors Light Pole Award, a Nationwide Series record.

It was the second straight hard-luck outing for Dillon, who led 207 of 250 laps a week earlier at Iowa but finished second to Trevor Bayne.

Sam Hornish Jr., who started the day second in the standings, left the race on lap 81 after a piece of debris caused him to lose oil pressure.

The race wasn’t quite a lap old before the first caution came out. Alex Bowman and Travis Pastrana spun in turn 4 before Brian Vickers crashed into Jeffrey Earnhardt. The latter two cars sustained significant damage.

Vickers, seventh in the series points standings before the start of the race, got back on the track but finished 33rd.

Dexter Stacey brought out the day’s second yellow flag when he struck the turn 3 wall on lap 7.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Race – Alliance Truck Parts 250

Michigan International Speedway

1. (20) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 125, $45440.

2. (11) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 125, $38200.

3. (2) Paul Menard(i), Chevrolet, 125, $24750.

4. (14) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 125, $17800.

5. (4) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 125, $23375.

6. (6) Brad Sweet, Chevrolet, 125, $21050.

7. (8) Chris Buescher, Ford, 125, $14810.

8. (19) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, 125, $21645.

9. (21) Nelson Piquet Jr. #, Chevrolet, 125, $20425.

10. (3) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 125, $21875.

11. (10) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 125, $13975.

12. (7) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 125, $19800.

13. (22) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 124, $19550.

14. (5) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 124, $19675.

15. (23) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 124, $20275.

16. (31) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 124, $19375.

17. (12) Travis Pastrana, Ford, 124, $19125.

18. (15) Johanna Long, Chevrolet, 124, $19075.

19. (17) Michael Annett, Ford, 123, $19025.

20. (1) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 123, $28550.

21. (28) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 123, $18900.

22. (25) Blake Koch, Toyota, 123, $18850.

23. (34) Scott Riggs(i), Ford, 123, $18800.

24. (24) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 123, $18750.

25. (16) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 123, $19175.

26. (29) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 122, $18625.

27. (36) Joey Gase, Toyota, 122, $12575.

28. (37) Eric McClure, Toyota, 120, $18500.

29. (27) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 119, $18450.

30. (38) Juan Carlos Blum #, Chevrolet, 119, $18700.

31. (18) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 85, $18350.

32. (13) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, Engine, 81, $18305.

33. (9) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 80, $18260.

34. (35) Ken Butler III, Toyota, Ignition, 21, $18230.

35. (39) Carl Long, Ford, Alternator, 16, $12196.

36. (26) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 14, $11375.

37. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Electrical, 10, $11355.

38. (32) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Handling, 8, $11316.

39. (33) Dexter Stacey #, Ford, Accident, 6, $17190.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 137.825 mph.

Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 48 Mins, 50 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.330 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 23 laps.

Lead Changes: 5 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Dillon 1-41; A. Bowman # 42-48; A. Dillon 49-68; J. Logano(i) 69-98; P. Kligerman 99-111; R. Smith 112-125.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): A. Dillon 2 times for 61 laps; J. Logano(i) 1 time for 30 laps; R. Smith 1 time for 14 laps; P. Kligerman 1 time for 13 laps; A. Bowman # 1 time for 7 laps.

Top 10 in Points: R. Smith – 495; S. Hornish Jr. – 437; J. Allgaier – 436; A. Dillon – 428; E. Sadler – 424; B. Scott – 415; T. Bayne – 407; P. Kligerman – 405; K. Larson # – 403; B. Vickers – 395.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 15 2013
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