MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 30, 2011) — Despite getting spun out twice and driving a damaged race car, Regan Smith stayed patient throughout Sunday’s caution-filled race to net a solid 13th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway.
It was a career-best result in seven starts for Smith at the historic half-mile flat track, which produced 17 cautions for 120 laps in the Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup race.
“What a wild and wacky race today,” said Smith. “We got collected early and thought it was going to be a long day. But we hung in there and came home with a decent finish. Our Furniture Row Chevrolet took a beating, but that comes with the territory at Martinsville. This track really tests your patience and emotions.”
Smith, who started 26th due to Saturday’s qualifying being rained out, first got collected when Dave Blaney spun in Turn 3 on Lap 27 of 500. That incident eventually put Smith a lap down. He also got spun later in the race and his banged up No. 78 Chevrolet had only half a rear bumper along with heavy damage to the rear quarter panels.
“The car looked like a beat up heavyweight fighter who refused to go down,” noted Smith. “Hats off to our Furniture Row pit crew for an incredible job repairing the car in record time. The bottom line is that we fought hard and persevered. That’s what you have to do at Martinsville.”
Coming into the short track race, Smith felt that his team was primed for a good finish, but needed to avoid serious trouble. Smith said he had good performances at Martinsville in the past but something out of his control would spoil the effort. His last three finishes at Martinsville were 31st, 31st and 32nd.
“We wanted a top-10 today, but considering where we came from and the bad luck we’ve had in the past at Martinsville, we’ll take 13th,” explained Smith.
The race winner was Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (Nov. 6) at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.