Smith Finishes 17th in Charlotte; Jumps 3 Spots in Driver Points
May 27, 2012
Regan Smith brought home a 17th-place finish in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race.
The result was Smith's fourth top-20 finish in as many starts at NASCAR's longest race, contested at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Smith's tenacity behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet paid off as he gained three spots in the driver point standings, moving from 26th to 23rd with one-third of the 36-race schedule completed.
"We hung in there and fought for everything we got tonight," said Smith. "We had some handling issues, which is expected in this endurance race that starts in daylight and ends under the lights. There were a few pit stops I wish we could have back, especially the one when I over-shot my pit box. Overall, it was a decent points race for us and it was nice to pick up a few spots in the standings."
Smith started the 400-lap, 600-mile endurance race from the10th position and ran in the top-10 for the first 39 laps. An issue on the first pit stop was costly as Smith dropped a number of spots in track position. But he battled back and ran in the top-20 for the remainder of the race.
The recent performances by the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team have lifted Smith's spirits as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour heads north for a three-race swing in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
"I am encouraged by how we have bounced back from a recent slump which included a 40th-place finish in Talladega due to a mechanical problem," noted Smith. "Since then, we posted results of 14th in Darlington, 12th in the Sprint All-Star Race and 17th tonight. We're not satisfied, but our outlook is much brighter than it was three weeks ago."
The Charlotte race winner was Kasey Kahne. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth.
The race had 31 lead changes among 11 drivers and the yellow flag flew five times for 23 laps.
The next Cup race is Sunday (June 3) at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.