Smith soldiers to hard-fought 12th-place finish at Martinsville
After battling an ill-handling BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors/Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Network/Advance Auto Parts/Valvoline Ford F-150 in the early going of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Alpha Energy Solutions 250, Regan Smith battled back over the race's second half to capture a 12th place finish.
"At the end of the first practice on Friday," Smith said, "we had gotten our F-150 to a place where it had some speed and would handle well on a relatively green track. Then it rained, the Cup cars ran a full practice and we had qualifying. By the time we hit the track for the race, the track was rubbered-up and the handling was completely different."
After starting 20th, Smith stayed around that spot in the running order throughout the first 70-lap segment. The team brought him in at the first break to loosen up the truck, but in the second segment, the No. 92 lost a lap under a long green-flag run. A couple cautions later and more adjustments last, Smith found himself in the free-pass spot with a truck that was racing much better. At lap 166, the team was running in the top 10 and stayed there until getting shuffled back a few spots on a late restart.
"I can't say enough about what (crew chief) Mike (Hester) and the pit crew did," Smith said. "MIke made a good call to gain some track position and the crew adjusted and adjusted to put us in a position to get a top 10."
Smith and the Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises team return to NCWTS action when the series makes it next stop May 12 at the Kansas Speedway. The team plans to bring the same truck Smith ran 12th with at Atlanta back in March.
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