Smith Overcomes Problems to Finish 21st in Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 9, 2009) -- Regan Smith fought through power steering issues and a damaged car to finish 21st in Saturday night's Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.   

"It was an amazing performance by Regan," said Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing. "Not having power steering at the difficult Darlington track is a nightmare for any driver. But Regan managed to keep the car off the wall and finish on the lead lap with a respectable result. An incredible effort by a talented driver."

Smith and the part-time, single-car Furniture Row Racing team has entered six of 11 races this season. The sophomore driver has qualified in all six races and has produced four top-21 finishes. 

"I am worn out," said Smith after the grueling 367-lap, 501-mile race at the 1.366-mile track which carries the moniker of 'Too Tough To Tame.'  "Something happened to the power steering early and it was a handful to drive the Furniture Row Chevy. You never want to have a power steering issue, especially at Darlington."

Midway through the race Smith's No. 78 Chevy took a hit from the No. 07 car of Casey Mears and suffered right-side and rear-end damage.

"The damage just made it even more difficult to drive the car, but somehow we managed to get through it all," noted Smith. "We sucked it up and fought for the best possible finish. The guys did a good job and considering the problems we faced, it wasn't a bad run tonight."

Smith kept his streak intact of never having a DNF (did not finish). He has been running at the finish in his 47 career Cup starts.

The 500-mile race produced a record 17 cautions for 73 laps and 23 lead changes among 13 drivers.

The next race for the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row team will be May 31 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.