Questionable Hit Short Circuits Smith's Run in Michigan
August 19, 2012
Furniture Row Driver Finishes 29th After a two-race reprieve from experiencing an unusual amount of bad luck, the black cloud returned with a force Sunday for Regan Smith, who saw a solid performance ruined in the Pure Michigan 400 when his car got clipped and sent crashing into the wall.
The Lap 75 of
200 incident at Michigan International Speedway was triggered when the No. 9 car of Marcos Ambrose came up on Smith's car and tagged the left-rear fender. The contact resulted in Smith's No. 78 Chevrolet spinning out of control and eventually into the concrete barrier, causing major left-side damage.
The Furniture Row Racing driver, who was running in the top-12 at the time of the Turn 4 accident, was forced to drive his heavily damaged car to the garage where the crew made repairs. Smith returned to action on Lap 113 and finished 29th in a crippled race car.
"We came into Michigan with high expectations and we were delivering until an unnecessary move by the No. 9 car spoiled another strong performance by our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet," said Smith, who posted ninth-place finishes at the last two Sprint Cup Series races. "We had at least another top-10 car and not much to show for it. I thought our luck cycle was changing. But I guess not -- a very disappointing day to say the least."
Smith started the scheduled 400-mile race from the 18th position and was able to move further to the front well before the race reached the halfway mark. Smith's crew chief Todd Berrier called for a few adjustments early in the race which gave Smith more grip on the 2-mile oval.
"We were getting better and better, and I was confident that the improvement was going to continue for the remainder of the race," explained Smith. "But we just never got to show what we really had. It bothers me that what happened could easily have been avoided."
Though the accident left Smith and his Furniture Row Racing teammates disappointed for the day, it didn't crush the confidence and enthusiasm levels for the resurgent single-car operation, which is based in Denver, Colo.
"Performance is what you always look for and right now we have speed and feel that we can run inside the top-10 from here on in," said Smith, who remained 23rd in points. "It's just avoiding the bad luck and being in the wrong place and the wrong time."
The race winner was Greg Biffle. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr.
There were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers and six cautions for 27 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Saturday night (Aug. 25) at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.