Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne each had one goal when the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season began – bring home the championship trophy. Both drivers came close in 2013, but were unable to complete the mission. This year things could end differently for one of the two current frontrunners.
After the first five races of the season and heading into the series’ first off weekend, Smith and Bayne are tied atop the points standings. Ty Dillon (six points back), Chase Elliott (-eight) and Elliott Sadler (-11) round out the top five.
Smith has held or shared the lead after all five races this season and technically leads the standings due to his victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The only other time he’s been atop the standings was for 10 consecutive weeks in 2013, beginning at Talladega. Bayne shares the points lead for the first time in his six-year career.
When the series returns to action at 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, Bayne has experienced success at the track and could possibly take sole possession of the points lead for the first time in his career. Bayne scored his first Nationwide Series win at the track in November 2011. He’s posted top-15 finishes in six of his seven series starts in Texas. His one finish outside the top 15 came in last year’s spring race where he finished 26th.
In seven series starts at the Texas track, Smith’s best finish is sixth, coming last fall. He finished seventh in the spring event last season. In three of his starts, Smith finished lower than 30th.
Bayne’s streak of five top-10 finishes is a personal-best to begin a season. At Daytona, he placed third, followed by a seventh at Phoenix and a pair of eighth-place outings at Las Vegas and Bristol. He finished ninth on Saturday at Auto Club.
Smith scored his third consecutive 10th-place finish at Auto Club after his season-opening win and eighth-place showing in Phoenix. He arrived at Auto Club with a one-point advantage over Bayne.