Tire Gamble Doesn't Pay Off for Smith, Finishes 23rd in Texas
November 6, 2011
Regan Smith and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team felt they were in position to bring home a top-10 finish, but a two-tire gamble late in the race didn't pan out as Smith took the checkered flag 23rd in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We rolled the dice with two fresh tires instead of four, and this time it didn't play in our favor," said Smith. "Our Furniture Row Chevrolet came on strong in the end and we were looking for better track position on that last pit stop."
Between the second-to-last pit stop (Lap 269 of 334) and the final stop (Lap 300), Smith charged from 20th to 14th on the 1.5-mile oval.
"No question we were on the move, but the two tires on the last pit stop just didn't hold up and we went backwards," noted Smith. "We don't second guess, it's just a waste of energy. Again, that kind of call has worked for us in the past, but today it was different. Let's not forget we made a no-tire call in Darlington and won the race."
Smith started the 500-mile race from the 10th position and went forward immediately. When he came down pit road for his first stop on Lap 43 he was running in fifth place.
"The Furniture Row Chevy was flying in the beginning," said Smith. "But we started to experience some handling issues which got resolved later in the race. We didn't get the finish that we had hoped for, but the good news is that we made some gains with our mile-and-a-half program. That was our main objective coming into the race. Though the finish was disappointing, we're learning and gaining more experience as a team."
The race winner was Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has two races remaining -- at Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13) and at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).