While running in the Top-Five and with strategy on their side, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team was left dejected after a cut tire ended their day with 70 laps left during Sunday's 400-lap race at the Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Regan Smith, still subbing for the injured Aric Almirola, raced from his 30th starting position to post two 19th-place finishes in Stages 1 and 2.
Smith really jumped positions at the end of Stage 1. A few adjustments to loosen the car, the Smithfield Ford came alive and a fresh set of tires had Smith 19th at the end of the first 120 laps.
The following 120 laps, Smith had to fight the car being too loose. But, big changes were made just past halfway, and Smith had the Smithfield Ford moving back to the front. Past halfway, he moved back into the Top-20 and raced to 14th after the start of Stage 2.
The team then concentrated on pit strategy- conserving fuel and sticker tires for the end. Smith was on a cycle to go longer than the leaders, and was running fifth when the right-front tire cut and sent Smith into the wall on Lap 329. The accident broke the upper control arm and Smith was out of the race.
A premature end, the team never had a chance to see their strategy play out. But, Smith was running fifth when the accident happened and was in a position to stay with the leaders until the end.
"We worked hard on the Smithfield Ford all day," said Smith. "The guys did nice job adjusting after we got really loose in the middle of the race. We cut a right-front tire. Maybe too much brake on my part. I'm not really sure. The team did a nice job all week. We struggled early in the week but got me comfortable in the car. It was fun. I'm just thankful to get the chance to drive this car the last few weeks."