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NASCAR Cup Nashville

Zane Smith "pissed" despite career-best result at Nashville

Sunday's wild NASCAR Cup race at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway presented Zane Smith with an incredible opportunity, but he just missed out on what could have been the biggest upset in years.

Smith, 25, entered Nashville last in points among full-time drivers. His best finish of the 2024 season was 13th in the season-opening Daytona 500.

But after five overtime restarts with cars wrecking and running out of fuel left and right, Smith found himself in position to capitalize. The Trackhouse Racing driver, who competes for Spire Motorsport restarted third on what ended up being the final restart.

When Joey Logano moved high to block a charging Tyler Reddick, Smith closed in. But Logano was somehow able to stretch the fuel, crossing the finish line just 0.068s ahead of Smith. He finished second in a career-best result, but he couldn't help but think about what could have been.

Zane Smith, Spire Motorsports, Jockey Outdoors by Luke Bryan Chevrolet Camaro

Zane Smith, Spire Motorsports, Jockey Outdoors by Luke Bryan Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

“Pissed," he said of his emotions post-race. "I mean, obviously so happy with the result. But when you hear for like 10 laps that ‘he [Logano] is supposed to run out, he is supposed to run out’, and then you see him shaking the car across the line and you just finished second, that hurts.

"The winning side of it hurts, but just appreciate everyone at Spire Motorsports and appreciate the strategy there. I appreciate Jockey Outdoors and Luke Bryan; having them on board here in Nashville, along with all of our other partners. It’s been a rough, rough year, but this is a great momentum booster, confidence booster, all of the above. So, hopefully we can carry this on, but it was awesome to sniff your first Cup win.”

Logano had stretched the fuel well beyond the window. He was helped by a rash of cautions, but with the race going 31 laps past the scheduled distance, no driver made it further than him on a tank of fuel.

Logano's last stop came on Lap 220, while Smith had pitted on Lap 244. When a spin by Austin Cindric forced the race into overtime for the first time, Smith was running 23rd. Everything had to go right for him to cut a path to the front, all while avoiding the chaos unfolding all around him.

"You don’t ever know if you are going to have another shot at another Cup win," added Smith. "So you just try to execute the best you can. Nashville is so notorious for those kinds of restarts. Everyone floats up, so I just kept using the bottom there with our strategy and it kept working out. It just goes to show that everyone is just so good in the Cup Series, and if you have the track position, you can compete.”

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