Smith Posts 17th-Place Finish in Kentucky Inaugural Race

SPARTA, Ky. (July 9, 2011) -- A steady performance by Regan Smith landed the Furniture Row Racing driver a 17th-place finish in Saturday night's inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

Smith, who started the race from the 12th position, virtually rode in the top-20 throughout the 267-lap, 400-mile event. An untimely caution after making a green flag pit stop in the late stages of the race stalled Smith's charge to the front.

"We were better than 17th tonight," said Smith. "That caution didn't help, but our Furniture Row Chevrolet also had some handling issues that made it difficult to pass. But we still managed to fight through the problem with a respectable result."

Witnessed by a capacity crowd of more than 100,000 fans, the Quaker State 400 marked the halfway point of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule.

"There was definitely a buzz this weekend at Kentucky Speedway and it was exciting to be part of this inaugural event," said Smith. "The first half of the season is in the books and our goal is to reach another level of competition in the next 18 races."

During the first half of the 2011 season Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team achieved a number of highlights, including a victory in the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

"We've come a long way, but still have more to accomplish," stated Smith.

The Kentucky race winner was Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top-five in order were: David Reutimann, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards.

The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (July 17) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.