Smith Encounters Early
Setback in Lengthy Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2010) – Regan Smith's hopes of a strong Daytona 500 finish came to an early halt in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup season opener.
Driving the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Smith got collected in a multicar wreck on Lap 8 of the scheduled 200-lap race at Daytona International Speedway. The incident was triggered when Brad Keselowski lost control of his car after suffering a flat tire on the high-speed 2.5-mile oval.
Smith was not injured in the accident as he was seen and released from the track's infield medical center. But his car suffered major damage, spending 118 laps in the garage for repairs. Smith, who eventually returned to the Great American Race on Lap 126, was credited with a 39th-place finish.
“I was hoping he (Brad Keselowski) was going to stay against the wall,” said Smith. “I was the first car behind him. I tried to go to the bottom and miss him, and by the time I went to the bottom, he came back and crossed the middle. It’s frustrating. You don’t ever want to start the season this way.”
The early crash was a disappointment to the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team following Smith’s impressive fifth-place finish in Thursday's qualifying race.
“The guys worked hard, and we had a good race car," added Smith. "We'll bounce back, this is a good race team."
The scheduled 200-lap Daytona 500 ended with eight laps of overtime and it took more than six hours to complete. The problem was a pothole on the track, which forced NASCAR to red flag the race twice for a total of more than two hours.
The race winner was Jamie McMurray. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann.
The next race for the Furniture Row Racing team will be Sunday (Feb. 21) at Auto Club Raceway in Fontana, Calif.