Conserving Fuel, Smith Finishes 17th at Chicagoland
JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 19, 2011) -- Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith conserved fuel in the closing laps to cap off a steady performance with a 17th-place finish in Monday's rain-delayed Geico 400 Sprint Cup race.
Smith, who rode in the low to high teens for the majority of the 267-lap, 400-mile event at Chicagoland Speedway, was told to save at least three laps of fuel in the final 49-lap, green-flag run.
"No problem," radioed Smith to his crew chief Pete Rondeau.
Smith delivered on his promise as his No. 78 Chevrolet took the checkered flag before the fuel tank was empty. The 17th-place finish was his 13th top-20 of the season.
"We were happy about the fuel mileage," said Smith. "It was a steady effort and we avoided trouble. We were on the lead lap for the entire race, which is a positive. And once again our Furniture Row pit crew did an outstanding job."
Smith started the race from the 13th position and ran in the top-12 for the first 80 laps.
"We ran strong early in the race and then lost some of that track position," explained Smith. "We had a couple of issues including a tire going down. Luckily we caught it in time."
Smith moved from 26th to 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver point standings.
The race winner was Tony Stewart -- his first victory of the season. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski.
The next Sprint Cup race is this coming Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.