Heartbreak Ending for Smith at Michigan
June 19, 2011
The beginning was frustrating, but the ending was heartbreaking.
In between the start and the finish it appeared it was going to be another good day for Regan Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team.
After suffering right-front damage to his No. 78 Chevrolet on Lap 10 of 200 as a result of a pit-road incident with Dave Blaney's car, Smith fought back from the rear of the field. And when the green flag waved for the final time on Lap 195 at Michigan International Speedway, he was running in 11th place.
"We were looking good at that point," said Smith.
But then came the closing five laps when Smith not only got trapped in traffic, he got snarled with the No. 21 car of Trevor Bayne, which resulted in Smith's Chevrolet cutting a right-front tire.
As the tire started to deflate, all Smith could do was limp to the checkered flag in 33rd place in the 15th Sprint Cup race of the season.
"I believe we were running 11th or 12th on the final restart and things just started to go south in a hurry," explained Smith. "I got trapped in traffic on the restart and near the end of the race I got tangled with (Trevor) Bayne's car and cut a right-front tire."
Smith added, "Instead of a top-12 or top-15 result, we finished 33rd. That was a lot of points we lost out on. The good side of the coin is that we fought hard all day and put ourselves in a solid position at the end, but couldn't finish it off. No question, this one hurt. To see all those valuable points disappear in an instant is not a good feeling right now."
Smith started the race fifth, his eighth top-five qualifying effort of the season. He also regained the qualifying-average lead of 9.226.
Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 race winner was Denny Hamlin. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Carl Edwards.
The Sprint Cup circuit heads to Sonoma, Calif. for next Sunday's (June 26) road race at Infineon Raceway.