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NASCAR Cup Charlotte

Zane Smith proud of "outstanding job" with Coke 600 top-10

It’s been a difficult few weeks for reigning NASCAR Truck champion Zane Smith but he received an unexpected boost with a strong performance in a grueling Coca-Cola 600.

Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, AdventHealth Chevrolet Camaro, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro, Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, Boot Barn Ford Mustang

Although Smith has a pair of wins already this year in Trucks, he’s finished 22nd or worse in the last three races, including 23rd in Friday night’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway after being involved in a late-race wreck.

Smith’s weekend was far over for Front Row Motorsports, however.

The Coca-Cola 600 was one of his scheduled Cup starts this season in the team’s No. 38 Ford but he had to wait until Monday afternoon to get in the car because of weekend rain delays.

Smith successfully avoided getting caught up in any of the 16 cautions in Monday’s race and by the fourth stage, he cracked the top-10.

Smith actually moved into the lead when he stayed out during a round of pit stops before falling behind the drivers with new tires on the restart. He managed to rally back to 10th over the final 20-lap run to the finish.

Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, Wellcare Ford Mustang

Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, Wellcare Ford Mustang

Photo by: Rusty Jones / NKP / Motorsport Images

“I am so happy, as happy as could be, really. I was worried when we didn’t take tires there and were running really good and had a really good day,” said Smith, 23. “It just worked out, so just a great job by this whole team.

“We got our Mustang better and better every single stop and that’s so cool. We run on half the budget, if that, then a lot of these guys, so to finish top-10 in our sixth (career) start at the Coke 600 is really cool.”

Smith said the performance in Monday’s race – his best finish so far in the Cup Series in six starts – was a good morale booster.

“It’s been a rough three weeks for me. The Cup Series is a different level and obviously I’m trying to prove I belong here and it’s just an outstanding run,” he said. “Ryan (Blaney) does an outstanding job and it’s so cool to finish this race, but better yet with a top 10.”

Despite the longest race of his career – both in miles and likely time spent completing it as it lasted more than six hours with rain delays – Smith said he felt good.

“I did a lot of preparation for the past month of just trying to prepare myself for this one. I feel like I could go another 100 more, so I did a good job there,” he said.

“I’m just so proud of everyone at FRM and on this No. 38 car. It’s an outstanding job, I thought.”

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