Heartbreaking Finish for Smith in Watkins Glen Homecoming
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2010) -- With five laps remaining in Sunday's Sprint Cup road race at Watkins Glen International it appeared that Regan Smith was on his way to another top-20 finish. But those late-race gremlins which have plagued the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team this season struck again while Smith was cruising in 17th place.
The issue this time was a broken right-side track bar mount, which ended Smith's day prematurely with a 34th-place finish. The adjustable track bar calibrates the car's suspension geometry.
"I don't know what to say," said a dejected Smith, a native of central New York. "We had a good car that possibly could have finished in the top 15. It's heartbreaking for everyone on the team because we have all worked so hard to get to another level. Anyone who has been watching us closely is aware that many of our results this season have not coincided with our strong performances. We know it's going to come, we just know it is."
In only his second career Cup race at Watkins Glen, the 26-year-old Smith started 27th and patiently picked his way through traffic during the 90-lap event on the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road circuit. When the fourth caution flew on Lap 67 he was running in 19th place and maintained his top-20 position until the track bar issue.
"I felt we had enough in the Furniture Row Chevy to give us one of our better finishes of the year," said crew chief Pete Rondeau. "The broken mount was a first and we'll go back to the shop and analyze why it did what it did. It was a good effort all around by this Furniture Row team."
The result did indeed spoil a homecoming of sorts for Smith, who started his racing career at age 4 in Cato, N.Y. -- 70 miles north of Watkins Glen.
"The finish makes it even more disappointing because of the number of family, friends and fans who were here today," said Smith. "However, we gave them a pretty good show for the first 85 laps."
The race winner was Juan Pablo Montoya, his second career Cup victory. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, AJ Allmendinger and Carl Edwards.
The next Cup race is Sunday (Aug. 15) at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.