With Pole Day Complete, Smith Turns Focus to Daytona 500 Qualifying Race
February 19, 2012
The first of multiple Daytona 500 qualifying events took place Sunday, which only locked in the front row for Sunday's (Feb. 26) Great American Race.
Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith posted the 39th fasted speed at the famed 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway with a lap time and speed of 47.105 seconds at 191.063 miles per hour.
Smith will compete in Thursday's second Gatorade Duel qualifying race. The results from the twin 60-lap, 150-mile Duel races will set the starting grid (minus the front row) for Sunday's Daytona 500. The Duel races will be televised live on SPEED with the first 150-miler beginning at noon MT.
"That was definitely not the lap we wanted for our Furniture Row/CSX Play It Safe Chevrolet," said Smith. "We've been off with our single-car runs since we got here."
As soon as Smith finished his two-lap qualifying run, the team's focus immediately switched from qualifying trim to race trim.
"Right now we need to work hard on making this car good in the draft," added Smith. "We need to make the car suck up and make it do the things that I need it to do in order to make moves, be aggressive in the pack and in the two-car tandem draft. It looks like we'll be doing a combination of both."
Smith, who was basically in the same position last year after Pole Day and then went on to finish second in the qualifying race and seventh in the 500, feels his No. 78 Chevrolet will race better in the draft than how it performed in qualifying trim.
"We really didn't do well on Pole Day last year but our car really raced strong and that's what we'll work on when we get back here on Wednesday," noted Smith.
Roush Fenway Racing captured the front row with team drivers Carl Edwards claiming the pole (194.378 mph) and Greg Biffle taking the outside pole (194.087).