Over the last seven races, Regan Smith of Cato, N.Y., has compiled 189 points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings. On the surface that might seem like a healthy amount of points.
After analyzing the stats of his fellow top-10 drivers over the same time period, however, a different picture is painted.
Smith’s points tally of 189 ranks last among all drivers currently in the top 10, indicative of the slide he has taken during that time. Granted he is currently tied with Sam Hornish Jr. for second, 14 markers behind Austin Dillon, and led the standings for 10 consecutive weeks (Talladega through New Hampshire). It was only eight races ago, however, when Smith finished first at Michigan and left the Wolverine State with a 58-point advantage in the standings.
Dillon has led all drivers in the top 10 with 270 points collected over the last seven races, followed by Elliott Sadler (255), Brian Vickers (249), Kyle Larson (248) and Hornish (247). Brian Scott (226), Trevor Bayne (220), Justin Allgaier (212), Parker Kligerman (212) and Smith round out the top 10.
With the series heading to New York for Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen, Smith hopes he’ll be able to reclaim his spot atop the standings in front of a hometown crowd. In six national series start at The Glen, Smith has one top-10 finish, which was a ninth-place performance in last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In two NASCAR Nationwide starts at the 2.45-mile road course, Smith has finishes of 19th and 23rd. He struggled in the first road-course event of the season at Road America, where he finished 32nd.
Dillon, who took over the points lead from Hornish two races ago at Indy, is seeking advice from teammate and road-racing specialist Max Papis to ensure that Watkins Glen doesn’t present any hiccoughs. Dillon’s only series start at The Glen resulted in a 23rd-place finish. Earlier this season at Road America, he finished 10th.