Smith's Strong Performance Turns to Smoke

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 25, 2010) -- For the first 100 laps in Sunday's Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Regan Smith was cruising in the top-20.

But as he was about to complete the 101st lap the Furniture Row Racing driver reported that smoke was filling the cockpit of his No. 78 Farm American Chevrolet. The culprit was a burned rear-end gear due to leaky fluid and the end result was a 33rd-place finish.

"Everything was going so smoothly," said Smith. "But then I started to see that ugly white smoke and I knew then we were in trouble. I was hoping it was something minor and it would eventually burn off, but that wasn't the case. We were making progress all weekend and truly felt we had the car to give us our best finish of the season."

Smith, who started 22nd, ran as high as 14th and maintained a steady pace on the 2.5-mile oval until he was called into the garage to make a rear-end change to his No. 78 machine. The Furniture Row crew worked valiantly under severe heat conditions to replace the rear-end, which allowed Smith to return to action and finish the race (25 laps down).

Mark McArdle, the team's managing director of competition, had mixed feelings with the outcome.

"Unfortunately we're not certain at this point what caused us to lose rear-end fluid," said McArdle. "It took what should have been a certain top-15 finish from the look of the results and turned it into a tough day. The performance of the No. 78 Farm American car was strong, the driver did a great job, the pit crew was right on and there were a lot of positive things. Unfortunately the result wasn't one of them."

Smith said the result was even more disappointing because he was driving a car that was paying tribute to the American farmer and rancher.

"We really wanted a good result today for all of the farmers and ranchers," stated Smith. "But we gave it a good effort and we will bounce back. No one knows better about overcoming setbacks than our nation's farmers and ranchers."

The race winner was Jamie McMurray, who became the third driver in NASCAR history to win the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same year. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart.

The next Cup race is Sunday (Aug. 1) -- the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.