Streak Snapped as Flat Tire Leads to Early Exit for Smith, Furniture Row Racing
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 12, 2009) -- Regan Smith knew it wasn't going to last forever, but it still didn't temper the sting.
Smith's impressive 53-race streak of never having a DNF (did not finish) in his Sprint Cup career came to an end in Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
A flat tire on Lap 206 of 400 caused Smith's No. 78 World Vision Chevrolet Impala SS to lose control and crash into the concrete retaining wall. The car was heavily damaged, forcing the 25-year-old driver to retire from the race early. He was credited with a 40th-place finish.
"Sooner or later something like this was going to happen," said Smith. "The tire blew and I smacked the wall. It was a pretty good hit and I knew then that we were going to take an early exit from the race. It's disappointing and frustrating, but we'll get over it and begin to focus on our next race in Dover (Sept. 27)."
Smith, who was driving the World Vision Chevy for the part-time Furniture Row Racing team, qualified 35th and made early gains on the .75-mile oval. But as he started to get into a rhythm his car began to sputter when both of the car batteries lost power, which eventually burned the alternator. The malfunction forced lengthy repairs to the No. 78 Chevy.
"We just never got going tonight," offered Smith. "The loss of power and then the flat tire -- I guess you could say it wasn't our day. We really wanted to come out strong and give World Vision and Furniture Row Racing a good showing, but the luck cycle wasn't on our side."
The race winner was Denny Hamlin. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch.