Smith Finishes 12th in California; Best Result of Season for Furniture Row Racing
Fontana, Calif. (Oct. 10, 2010) -- Regan Smith and Furniture Row Racing came back from two pit-road speeding penalties to post their best finish of the season -- a 12th-place result in Sunday's Pepsi Max 400 Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. Smith's previous season best was 14th at the Atlanta spring race.
It was an exciting ending for the Denver, Colo.-based team, which saw Smith's No. 78 Farm American Chevrolet take the lead with 12 laps remaining, thanks to a great pit call by crew chief Pete Rondeau.
When the caution was waved on Lap 184 of 200, Rondeau decided against four tires and instead took two. The decision vaulted Smith from the low 20s in track position all the way to second. When the race was restarted on Lap 188 Smith grabbed the lead, but could not hold off the onslaught of cars which took four tires.
"Two tires worked for us, we got the much needed track position," said Smith. "Pete made a really good call at the end. When we took the two tires the car was pretty good. I was just lacking a little bit of grip to hold it for much more than that one lap. But to still maintain 12th was pretty good. It was just frustrating when you're that close to a top-10 and not get it. We're working hard as a team with Furniture Row Racing to get the company's first top-10 monkey-off-our-back finish and move on to bigger and better things."
Smith went on to elaborate on the closing laps of the 400-mile race, "When we made our (two tire) move we knew we needed more cautions to make it work. We did get that one caution and it played out like you draw it up in a book. When I went into (turns) three and four and the car stuck pretty good I said, 'maybe the clean air was going to be enough to do it for us.' Then when I went down into turns one and two I couldn't hold the bottom like I want to and lost ground. But a good effort all-in-all for our American farmers and ranchers, Farm American.com and Furniture Row Racing."
Regarding the two speeding penalties, Smith said, "It was a roller coaster day for us. We were running in the top-15 early and then got called for speeding twice on pit road which moved us all the way back to the low 30s in track position. My lights in the Farm American Chevrolet said I wasn't speeding and I am not sure why I was called for it. I was told NASCAR called 12 speeding penalties today. I guess misery loves company."
The race winner was Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.
The next Sprint Cup race is Saturday night, Oct. 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.