Handling Problems Drop Smith to 33rd-Place Finish in Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. (June 7, 2009) -- A mechanical gremlin that wouldn't go away stalled Regan Smith's performance as the Furniture Row Racing driver posted a 33rd-place finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.

The No. 78 Furniture Row team had two solid practices Saturday, but when the green flag dropped to start the Pocono 500 Smith immediately encountered handling issues with his Chevrolet Impala SS.

"We fought handling problems all day," offered Smith. "It didn't feel at all like the same car we had in (Saturday's) practices."

Smith, who was competing in the eighth of the 14 Sprint Cup races contested this season, could never find the proper balance and eventually fell two laps down during the 200-lap, 500-mile race.

"Today was one of those days you just chalk up to a learning experience," added Smith, who has posted five top-22 finishes with the Denver, Colo.-based part-time team. "I know there will be better days ahead for the Furniture Row team."

Crew chief Jay Guy said, "We're not sure why the car reacted the way it did today. It wasn't that way during yesterday's practices. We either missed something or something broke. But Regan hung in there and got the most of what he had to work with."

The one bit of good news for Smith is that he kept his streak alive of running at the finish in every one of his 49 career Cups starts. The 2008 Rookie of the Year will look to make it 50 straight without a DNF (did not finish) at the team's next scheduled race -- July 28 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.

The Pocono race winner was Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top five in order were: Carl Edwards, David Reutimann, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman.