Smith Solid in Pocono, finishes 9th
First top-10 of season for Furniture Row Racing driver
LONG POND, Pa. (Aug. 5, 2012) -- Regan Smith posted his first top-10 finish of the season, claiming a ninth-place result in Sunday's rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400.
The scheduled 160-lap, 400-mile Sprint Cup race was called by NASCAR officials on Lap 98 after a severe thunderstorm struck the Pocono Raceway area.
Smith, who qualified 11th, dropped back early in the race. But a few solid adjustments on ensuing pit stops righted Smith's No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet as it bolted forward on the 2.5-mile triangular track.
"We had a good car this weekend and it even got better as the race went on," said Smith. "I had mixed feelings about the rain because I felt we might have been able to pick off a few more positions."
When Smith came down pit road on Lap 73 for what turned out to be his final stop of the day, he was running in 13th place. He managed to gain four positions in the closing laps, and one of the key moves was how he delicately avoided a multicar wreck on Lap 92.
"We deserved what we got today," stated Smith. "We felt we had a fifth-to-12th-place car and that's the way it turned out. It was a solid effort by the entire Furniture Row team."
Smith added, "It's a great feeling in our Furniture Row camp to have the kind of performances we've had the past two weekends with our No. 78 Chevrolet. We had a top-10 car in Indy until our front-end got mangled. Todd (Berrier, crew chief) has done a great job in a short time. He's made the transition real easy for everyone. It's like I've been working with him for a long time. We're moving along with plenty of enthusiasm right now and feel that we're in the process of turning this season around."
Berrier was equally pleased with the performance.
"Everyone is working together well and we all want to share in success -- this is a hard-working team," said Berrier, who completed his second race as the Furniture Row crew chief. "We need to get better and want to get better. The good news is that we're heading in the right direction."
Smith remained 24th in the driver point standings.
The race winner was Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Smith and Marcos Ambrose.
There were 13 lead changes among 10 drivers, and three cautions for 14 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (Aug. 12) at the Watkins Glen International road course in central New York.