Another bad break ruins Smith's performance
June 30, 2012
The black cloud continued to follow Regan Smith.
The Furniture Row Racing driver, who was credited with a 33rd-place finish in Saturday night's Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup race, saw a solid performance spoiled by being in the wrong place at the wrong time at Kentucky Speedway.
While running in 14th place on Lap 209 of 267, Smith hit a large oil slick that was dumped on the track by a blown engine from Ryan Newman's No. 39 car, which was positioned directly in front of Smith's No. 78 Furniture Row/CSX Play it Safe Chevrolet.
As soon as the tires on Smith's car caught the oil in Turn 2, it slid violently and slapped the concrete wall causing major damage to the right-front of the car.
"I was right there with him (Newman)," said Smith. "I saw it, but there is not much you can do. I went sideways as soon as I hit the oil. It was unfortunate because we had a good car. In fact, we were getting better on every run and I truly felt we had a good shot at a top-10."
Smith added, "We made good adjustments and our pit crew was awesome, they had some incredible pit stops. While I am deeply disappointed there were plenty of positives about our performance tonight."
Smith was able to drive the crippled car to the garage where the No. 78 crew worked at a blazing speed to make the necessary repairs so Smith could return to action to gain one available position in the final running order.
"That amazing effort by our crew goes to show you that we don't quit and we'll always fight for every position possible," stated Smith.
It has now been three straight weeks that Smith has found himself on the wrong side of the luck cycle. It started in Michigan (June 17) when a flat tire with fewer than 10 laps remaining stymied a strong performance. And last week at the road course in Sonoma, Calif. he was involved in a final-lap accident, which dropped him five spots in track position.
"We all experience these unlucky streaks and we can't look back and play the what if game," said Smith, who dropped one position to 26th in the point standings. "I thought we made progress tonight and need to build on this performance. The luck factor will eventually turn in our favor and we'll catch our breaks."
The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger and Kyle Busch.
The race had 17 lead changes among six drivers and there were four cautions for 24 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Saturday night (July 7) at Daytona International Speedway.