Smith Hangs On For Michigan Victory
BROOKLYN, Mich. – With rain clouds looming in the distance and a hard charging rookie in his mirror, Regan Smith did everything right as he held on to win Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.
Smith was in the right place at the right time in the closing moments of the race, inheriting the lead when Parker Kligerman was forced to pit for fuel with 14 laps.
But that is only part of the story.
Austin Dillon, who started from the pole for the record fourth-straight race, dominated the early portion of the event. With rain on the radar and the field under caution at lap 64, Dillon opted to not to pit when most of the field did.
When the green flag waved for the restart Dillon quickly faded through the pack, a victim of a flat left-rear tire. Joey Logano was able to take the lead thanks to Dillon’s bad luck, but another caution on lap 79 brought another change in strategy.
Logano opted to pit during the caution period. That gave the lead to Parker Kligerman, who was going to need to pit one more time if it didn’t rain. Kligerman got away from the pack during the restart as the field battled for second behind him.
With the rain holding off and Kligerman pulling away, the battle was for second. Trevor Bayne held it for several laps, but soon Smith was able to catch and pass Bayne. Kyle Larson, seeking his first Nationwide victory, followed him into third.