Smith, Furniture Row Racing Pleased with California Learning Experience
October 11, 2009
FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2009) -- It was mission accomplished for Furniture Row Racing and driver Regan Smith in Sunday's Pepsi 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.
Smith finished 28th, but more importantly for the Denver, Colo.-based organization is the information gathered in the 250-lap, 500-mile race will help advance the team as it continues its preparation for a full season schedule in 2010.
"Since our goal is to be in the top 35 in points next season, the first California race is going to be critical for us," said Smith. "Some of the new things we tried today have potential, and I feel it's going to really help our cause when we return here in February. I thought our Furniture Row Chevy responded well to the adjustments. That was encouraging to say the least."
Smith most likely would have had a better result, but he ran out of gas as the team attempted to stretch its fuel mileage run with the hopes of gaining track position in the middle of the race.
"It was a gamble, but it didn't work in our favor," said Smith. "Sometimes you have to take a chance and think out of the box in order to get better track position. But we fought back and our car was running pretty good in the late stages of the race. I am looking forward to the next time we race here."
Smith has entered 16 races this season and has qualified in 15. The No. 78 team has four races remaining this season -- at Talladega Superspeedway (Nov. 1), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 8), Phoenix (Nov. 15) and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 22).
The race winner was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top five in order were: Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mark Martin and Tony Stewart.