BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 18, 2011) — For the second time this season Regan Smith set a career Sprint Cup mark. The latest was an all-time best qualifying performance of third, which he achieved Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway during time trials for Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500.
His other career performance came last month in the Daytona 500 when he posted an all-time best finish of seventh. And for the second time in the first four races of 2011, Smith recorded the fastest qualified speed for a Chevrolet driver.
“We’ve been quick everywhere we’ve gone this year, we just haven’t had very good luck,” stated Smith in a post-event news conference. “We had a motor issue last week (in Las Vegas) and then the Phoenix wreck with all the cars on the back straightaway. Obviously we want to have a good finish — that is definitely the first priority.”
Smith’s No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet covered Bristol’s .533-mile oval in 15.040 seconds at 127.580 miles per hour. He was a few ticks shy of Carl Edwards’ pole-winning numbers of 14.989 at 128.014.
“It was a good lap,” said the 27-year-old Smith. “We weren’t quite that good in practice — the guys made some good adjustments. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do – just a little tight out there. I figured with Carl (Edwards) and Greg (Biffle) going out at the end, we were probably in trouble (for the pole), but it was still a good lap and we will definitely take it for the Furniture Row Chevy.”
The top-five qualifiers in order were: Edwards, Greg Biffle, Smith, Paul Menard and David Ragan.
Sunday’s race will be televised on FOX, beginning with a one-hour prerace show at 10 a.m. MT.