Zane Smith and the No. 8 PatientPop team rebounded from early issues to make huge gains when it mattered most, racing their way to an eighth-place finish in Friday night’s GoBowling 250 at Richmond Raceway in Xfinity Series action. The result gives Smith his fifth top 10 in eight starts with JR Motorsports and the No. 8 team its 18th top 10 on the year.
With a 15th-place starting spot in hand, the PatientPop team dealt with adversity from the outset in the form of brakes that were heating up quickly and glowing red after only a few laps. Smith reported a “brake shake” to crew chief Taylor Moyer who responded by having the rookie put more rear brake into the No. 8 from the cockpit. Compounded with a loose condition on entry, Smith focused on just maintaining during the opening stage and went on to finish Stage One in 12th.
The PatientPop team came to pit road with the field under the stage-ending caution and took on four tires, fuel and changes to help give Smith more drive off on corner exit. Smith lined up for the restart in 14th. Once up to speed, Smith radioed the changes helped and he set to work, racing into the top 10 for the first time on the night around lap 100. He went on to finish out Stage Two in 11th.
Smith told the team the PatientPop Chevy was handling much better but the brakes were less than ideal. Moyer called the No. 8 to the pit stall for a scheduled stop and the crew removed tape in an effort to help cool the brakes down in addition to the standard of four tires and fuel.
Smith fired off in 14th for the final stage and the crew’s adjustments paid dividends. The No. 8 charged back inside the top 10, but Smith didn’t stop there. With a PatientPop entry that seemed better as the run went on, he ultimately worked his way to eighth before the checkered flag fell.
Christopher Bell won the race. Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top-five finishers.
Zane Smith, driver No. 8 PatientPop Chevrolet team
“Man, I’ve got to give a big thanks to PatientPop and all the guys on the PatientPop team. They worked their tails off today. We unloaded well but had our work cut out for us with that starting position. I just couldn’t get back on the throttle like I needed to early on and the brake issue didn’t help. But we stuck with it, and in the final stage we ended up being pretty good on the long run. We just needed better track position. All-in-all it was a solid night.”