Smith Overcomes Engine Issue; Qualifies 10th for All-Star Race
May 19, 2012
Despite not making any qualifying practice runs due to an engine failure, Regan Smith posted the 10th best time in Friday evening’s time trials, which set the field for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Approximately 45 minutes into the 90-minute pre-qualifying practice, Smith’s No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet blew an engine, forcing the team to make a motor change heading into qualifying.
“We practiced in race trim, but because of the engine failure we didn’t get an opportunity to make a qualifying practice lap, which is critical for this format,” said crew chief Pete Rondeau. “Regan, along with our pit crew, did an excellent job to give us a strong qualifying effort.”
The unique qualifying format consisted of three laps on the 1.5-mile oval plus a four-tire pit stop. The total elapsed time for Smith was 121.721 seconds, which included a pit stop of 13.6 seconds.
“Hats off to the pit crew and the road crew,” said Smith. “Considering what happened in practice I felt this (qualifying) was a solid performance by every person associated with Furniture Row Racing. I am confident we'll have a fast car for tomorrow night's no-holds-barred race.”
The 20 drivers, who already qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race, participated in qualifying. Three additional drivers will be added to the main event -- the top-two finishers from the preliminary Sprint Showdown race and a fan-voted driver.
The pole winner was Kyle Busch (119.112 seconds). Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Smith.
SPEED will begin coverage Saturday at 5 p.m. MT. The schedule calls for the Sprint Showdown race at 5:30 p.m. MT, followed by the Sprint All-Star Race at approximately 7 p.m. MT.
The All-Star Race format will include four 20-lap segments plus a closing 10-lap shootout.