Smith Finishes 21st in Pocono
LONG POND, Pa. (Aug. 1, 2010) -- Despite balancing issues with his Furniture Row Chevrolet, Regan Smith managed to pull off a 21st-place finish in Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
Smith, who started the 500-mile event from the 34th position, made headway early on the 2.5-mile track as he was running in the low to mid 20s by Lap 50 of 200. He continued to maintain a steady pace, and when the final caution flew on Lap 166, he was in 16th place.
Following a 30-minute red flag to clean up debris on the track surface, Furniture Row crew chief Pete Rondeau was faced with a difficult decision to take two or four tires on the final pit stop. He opted for four because of the balance problem with Smith's No. 78 Chevrolet.
"Hindsight is always 20-20, but it was one of those calls that could have gone either way," stated Rondeau. "Unfortunately it didn't go in our favor. Considering the number of laps we ran under caution before the race was restarted (on Lap 179), two tires might have been the right call. With four tires, we needed more green-flag laps at the end. But overall we gave it a good fight and Regan drove a strong race."
What hurt Smith's chances after the four-tire call was that a light drizzle started to fall resulting in a number of yellow flag laps to help dry the track.
"That brief drizzle really cost us because of the laps we ran under caution," said Smith. "We had four fresh tires and felt we were in position to make a move, or at worst stay 16th. But with fewer green flag laps than we anticipated, our chances of getting back in the teens diminished. We did have some good green-flag runs today, but needed one more long one at the end."
The race winner was Greg Biffle, who gave Roush Fenway Racing its first win of the season. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International Sunday (Aug. 8) for the second and final road race of the season.