Handling Issues Curtail Smith at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS (July 26, 2009) -- Due to a suspension issue in Saturday's final practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Furniture Row Racing team had no choice but to "roll the dice" with the car's setup for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
Unfortunately, the dice didn't roll in the team's favor and the result was a 39th-place finish for Regan Smith, who continued his streak of running at the finish in all of his 52 career Sprint Cup starts.
"After practice on Saturday we found a problem with our left-front spring," explained crew chief Jay Guy. "Because of the spring problem we did not learn anything from the practice session and basically had no data on how to tune the car to Regan's liking. We all got together Saturday night to discuss a setup, but we knew that it was a 50-50 gamble of hitting it right."
It didn't take long for the No. 78 team to know they were on the wrong side of the 50-50 gamble. Smith reported a handling issue on the first lap of the 160-lap, 400-mile race.
Though adjustments were made during the first two pit stops, the handling problems continued on the No. 78 Chevy Impala SS. And on Lap 50, Smith made his first of five trips to the garage for suspension changes, which included new springs, shocks, bump stops and sway bar. He completed 108 of the 160 laps.
"Today just wasn't our day," said Smith. "But we didn't give up and worked on the car until we started to click off respectable lap times late in the race. We're a better team than what we showed today."
Being a single-car, part-time team it would have been easy to retire from the race early, but that wasn't the case for the Denver, Colo.-based team.
"I guess we could have called it quits early and might have only lost a spot or two in the finishing order, but we didn't want to leave this place without learning something that could help us in the future," offered Guy. "The good news is that what we eventually learned today will be a benefit."
Speaking of the future, the next race for the Furniture Row team will be Saturday night (Aug. 22) at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The Allstate 400 race winner was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top five in order were: Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Brian Vickers.