Smith Finishes 24th in Dover

DOVER, Del. (May 16, 2010) -- Regan Smith drove to a 24th-place finish in Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.

"Considering that we started 37th and ran in the low to mid 20s for the majority of the race, it wasn't that bad of a day," said Smith.

Smith's No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet struggled during practice on Friday and Saturday and basically went into the 400-mile race with an untested setup. But the decisions made by crew chief Ryan Coniam and the engineering staff paid dividends as Smith was able to move forward from the get go.

"We were off in practice and didn't have a good handle on the Furniture Row Chevy," said Smith. "But the changes we made after Saturday's practices were good ones. Our car was strong in the middle of the race, but it did lose some of its zip at the end. We're battling for top 20s, then top 15s and eventually top 10s. I feel we're on the right path -- we just need to be patient."  

The 24th-place finish for Smith followed a 17th-place result in Darlington last week. 

"We're all on the same page and feel good about our recent improvement," said Smith, who remains 31st in driver points. "We're not that far away from putting it all together. That learning curve is getting shorter." 

The race winner was Kyle Busch, who also won Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Dover. Rounding out the top-five in order at the Cup race were: Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and David Reutimann.

The race had five cautions for 24 laps. There were 20 lead changes among eight drivers.

The next race for the Denver, Colo.-based team is the Sprint All-Star weekend, May 21-22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next points race is Sunday, May 30 -- the Coca-Cola 600, also at Charlotte Motor Speedway.