LEXINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 15, 2015) – Regan Smith, driver of the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, used a dramatic bump-and-run pass of Alex Tagliani on the final turn of the final lap to win Saturday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Driving a TaxSlayer.com car that featured a special purple paint scheme with the picture of nine-year-old Laynie Roll, a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who battles an involuntary muscle condition called dystonia, Smith lived up to Laynie’s prediction. Earlier in the week Laynie stated, “When Regan wins the race, I’ll cross the finish line first since my picture is on the hood!”
Laynie did, but it wasn’t easy. Smith led 19 of 75 laps but was passed by Tagliani with 15 to go. Smith maintained second place through two caution periods in the last 12 laps – the final which set up a restart with three to go. Smith stayed close to Tagliani as they winded through the turns of the road course. After seeing the white flag, Smith pulled closer. With two turns to go, Tagliani’s No. 22 car swung wide to open the door for Smith, who applied the bumper and made the pass.
The victory is Smith’s first win of the season and first on a road course. It’s Smith’s fifth overall NASCAR XFINITY SERIES victory, all of which have come at JR Motorsports. Smith is third on JR Motorsports’ XFINITY Series wins list behind Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, both of whom have six each.
“This is an incredible feeling, just an awesome feeling!” said Smith in Victory Lane. “I’m so proud of my guys. They’ve stuck behind me. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to win. I’ve been wrecked so many times on these road courses that I did what I had to do. I didn’t spin him, just got the spot.
“We’re going to celebrate hard tonight. I’m so happy for Laynie. She’s here in Victory Lane with us. She goes through way more than any kid should have to go through. I told her before we started I was going to do everything we could to win the race today. I’m happy for TaxSlayer. They are a great partner of ours at JR Motorsports. They allowed us to run this paint scheme and show support to these kids.”
Smith had been close to winning at Mid-Ohio, as last season he finished second to Christ Buescher. The win is the 24th win as a company for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.