Smith's Finishing Streak Hits 50
Sophomore Cup Driver Claims 27th-Place Result in New Hampshire
LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2009) -- The big news for Regan Smith coming out of Sunday's rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was that he extended his running-at-the finish streak to 50 consecutive races.
The 25-year-old Furniture Row Racing driver has never had a DNF (did not finish) in his 50 career Cup starts.
Though the streak is impressive, it was the furthest thing from Smith's mind after posting a 27th-place finish in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301, which was called for rain on Lap 273 of 301.
"Maybe I would think more of the streak had we finished better today," offered Smith, the 2008 Rookie of the Year. "We just never could find rhythm with a poor starting position (43rd), all the cautions and then the rain. We did have a rain/fuel mileage strategy that nearly worked for a top-10 finish. But the rain came seven or eight minutes too late for what we were trying to achieve."
Smith came close to not finishing the race at the 1.058-mile oval. He was in the middle of a multicar wreck on Lap 176, but thanks to some savvy driving he was able to avoid major damage to his car.
"That accident was another deal that affected our rhythm," said Smith. "I saw a lot of cars spinning in front of me and it was a close call. I got bounced around pretty good, but was fortunate to maneuver out of the big mess. However, we did suffer right-front and left-rear damage, but it wasn't severe enough to knock us out of the race."
Smith added, "The good news for our Furniture Row team is that we'll be back on track next week at Daytona. We like the superspeedways and feel that we can get the top-10 or better finish there."
The Furniture Row team, which is based in Denver, Colo., is running a limited schedule in 2009. The team has entered nine of the 17 Cup races this season.
The New Hampshire race winner (on fuel mileage) was rookie Joey Logano. Rounding out the top five in order were: Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, David Reutimann and Tony Stewart.