Speeding Penalty Stifles Charge for Smith at Kansas
October 9, 2011
A pit-road speeding penalty in Sunday's Hollywood 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway was a momentum stopper for Regan Smith, who took the checkered flag in 24th-place.
The final result snapped a four-race streak of top-20 finishes for Smith and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team, which along with its financial partner -- Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers -- was supporting the Farm American program at the Kansas race.
NASCAR officials cited Smith for speeding following a green-flag, four-tire/fuel stop on Lap 170 of 272. He was ordered to return to pit road for a pass-through penalty, costing him valuable track position on the 1.5-mile oval.
"That knocked the wind out of our sails," said Smith. "I was very surprised when I was informed that I was being penalized for speeding. By no means did I feel that I went over the limit. But the call was made and we did the best we could from that point on."
Smith, who started the race from the 16th position, struggled with the car's handling for a good portion of the 400-mile event.
"We just couldn't seem to find the right balance with our Furniture Row Chevrolet," noted Smith. "Don't get me wrong, I had some good runs in the car today, but never had the rhythm for the entire race. But no matter what, the speeding penalty definitely cost us at least a top-20 finish."
Smith was looking to gain track position during the green-white-checkered restart, but he got trapped in the two-lap overtime dash and stayed where he started -- in 24th place.
"We took four fresh tires for the green-white-checkered restart, but couldn't move forward," said Smith. "It just wasn't our day."
The race winner was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.
The next Cup race is Saturday night -- the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.