Smith Battles to 26th-Place Finish in Arizona

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 10, 2010) -- Regan Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team finished 26th in Saturday evening's Subway Fresh Fit 600k Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.

The race was a learning curve for the Denver, Colo.-based team since it was the first time that Smith drove a Richard Childress Racing-built car in competition. Furniture Row Racing and RCR formed a technical and engineering alliance at the beginning of the season.

Smith's No. 78 Chevrolet ran on the tight side during the 378-lap race at the one-mile oval. But smart adjustments and excellent pit stops kept Smith on the lead lap as he improved from finishing positions of 36th and 32nd at the last two races in Bristol, Tenn. and Martinsville, Va.

"We fought hard all day," said Smith. "The car's handling was a problem, but it did get better as the race wore on. Anytime you run something new you know it's going to take time to get the bugs worked out. We're excited about our alliance with Richard Childress Racing and know that this Furniture Row program is going to get better."

Smith qualified 28th and basically ran in the low to high 20s throughout the race. "We had issues, but Regan was patient and kept the car out of trouble and did another great driving job," said team crew chief Ryan Coniam. "Once we get the pieces worked out, we know we have the driver who can get the car to the front."

Smith remained 32nd in the Sprint Cup driver point standings.

The race winner was Ryan Newman. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya.   

The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (April 18) at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.