NXS: Bump and Run; Smith Moves Tagliani on Final Lap to Win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Midwest, NASCAR 0 Comments

LEXINGTON, Ohio — official series release by Chris Knight, NASCAR Wire Service — Jeff Curry/Getty Images North America photo —

What a difference a week makes.

After experiencing pure frustration last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Regan Smith responded in his second road course race of the season with a bump-and-run on leader Alex Tagliani in the second-to-last corner on the last lap to score his first NASCAR XFINITY Series win of the season in Saturday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The short-track-like move ended a 52-race winless streak for Smith driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

“These guys work their butts off all week,” said Smith after earning his fifth career win. “This car was destroyed door tops down, they rebuilt it in one day. The guys back at the shop phenomenal job, my road guys have stuck behind me for a while. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to win. I hate to do it in the last corner, but it’s been too long, a long time, I wasn’t going to pass the opportunity up.

“I’ve been wrecked so many times on these road courses, I had to do what I had to do right there. I didn’t spin him, just got the spot. We’re going to celebrate hard tonight.”

Tagliani, who was searching for his first XFINITY Series victory in seven races, had to settle for a disappointing second after taking the lead from Smith with 15 laps remaining.

“If I knew that he was going to win like that probably instead of passing him fair and square early on in the race, I would have probably pushed him off a bit,” said Tagliani. “But, he knows I’m not going to be there next weekend to retaliate.”

In his first XFINITY Series race of the season, Tagliani scored his third career Coors Light Pole in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford and jumped to the early lead, separating himself by more than 1.2 seconds over defending race winner Chris Buescher until the first caution of the day on lap six for a stalled car on the backstretch.

With pit strategy already on the minds of crew chiefs, many of the leaders elected to pit early, but Boris Said stayed out and inherited the lead for the restart. Said’s time at the front was short-lived, as he was immediately challenged on the restart by reigning XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott, who took the lead in Turn 1.

Elliott led until Lap 12 when the second caution waved for Kenny Habul. Leaders Elliott and Said pitted, with Elliott Sadler assuming the top spot briefly before Buescher grabbed control from his Roush Fenway Racing teammate.

Following the third caution of the race, Tagliani swiped the lead from Buescher in Turn 3, only to have his momentum stalled by a caution for fluid on the race track.

Tagliani maintained the race lead through the halfway point.

Under a Lap 41 yellow, the majority of the field made their final scheduled pit stop, with Smith claiming the lead after pit stops and the racing resuming with 30 laps remaining.

Despite another yellow flag for fluid on the track, the leaders elected to stay out.

Racing resumed with 20 laps to go with Smith easily escaping from the furry of furious side-by-side action behind him. Tagliani, though, quickly emerged from the pack and set his sights on Smith, setting up to reassume command on Lap 61 and set the tone for the thrilling finish.

Buescher leads Ty Dillon by 24 points in the XFINITY Series standings.

 

RESULTS: NASCAR XFINITY Series; Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200; Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; August 15, 2015

  1. Regan Smith
  2. Alex Tagliani
  3. Ty Dillon
  4. Chris Buescher
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Elliott Sadler
  7. Brian Scott
  8. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  9. Dylan Lupton
  10. Ben Rhodes
  11. Daniel Suarez
  12. Brendan Gaughan
  13. Boris Said
  14. Ryan Sieg
  15. Justin Marks
  16. J.J. Yeley
  17. Jeremy Clements
  18. Landon Cassill
  19. Ross Chastain
  20. Cale Conley
  21. Andy Lally
  22. Ryan Reed
  23. Dakoda Armstrong
  24. Blake Koch
  25. Derrike Cope
  26. Joey Gase
  27. Michael Self
  28. Kenny Habul
  29. Brandon Jones
  30. Tim Cowen
  31. David Starr
  32. Tomy Drissi
  33. Mike Harmon
  34. Dylan Kwasniewski
  35. Eric McClure
  36. Carlos Contreras
  37. Morgan Shepherd
  38. John Jackson
  39. Josh Reaume
  40. Jeff Green

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