Smith 12th Fastest in Michigan's High-Speed Qualifying
June 16, 2012
Saturday's scorching time-trial session at Michigan International Raceway saw Regan Smith qualify 12th for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Michigan's newly-paved 2-mile oval produced record speeds, including 19 cars posting runs of more than 200 miles per hour. Forty (40) drivers recorded a faster lap than the previous Michigan track qualifying record of 194.232 mph, set in 2005.
Smith, driving the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet, went out ninth and when he completed his lap he was sitting No. 1 with a time and speed of 35.870 seconds at 200.725 mph. It was Smith's fastest qualifying effort of his career.
"After I ran I was hoping to be in the top-15 and we managed to get a little better starting position," said Smith. "We're happy overall with what we've accomplished this weekend. I was pleased with my car in race trim yesterday at the end. Unfortunately it’s going to change for everybody now but the guys have been working hard on the Furniture Row/Farm American Chevy and we’ll keep digging with the rules changes and see where that puts us.”
NASCAR announced Friday night that there would be a left-side tire change and would allow teams an additional practice session following today's NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The change was made due to Goodyear tires blistering on the repaved track.
Marcos Ambrose led qualifying, scoring his first career pole position with a speed of 203.241. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson.
Sunday's race will be televised on TNT, beginning with a 60-minute prerace show at 10 a.m. MT (noon ET).