[media-credit name=”kansasspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”158″][/media-credit]KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 22, 2012) — Regan Smith battled hard just to finish 24th in Sunday’s STP 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.
It was Smith’s third 24th-place result of the season, his lowest finishing position of the eight races contested in 2012. The Furniture Row/Farm American driver has also posted four top-20 finishes with a best of 15th (Las Vegas) and 16th (Martinsville, Va.).
“We’re still stuck with those mid teens to mid 20-finishes,” said Smith. “Though we’re fighting for everything that we can get in our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet, we need to break out of this rut. It’s disappointing that we weren’t able to perform in the last two races on the mile-and-a-half tracks.”
Smith’s other finishes at either the 1.5 and 2.0-mile ovals this season were 15th in Las Vegas (1.5), 20th in Fontana, Calif. (2.0) and 23rd last week in Fort Worth, Texas (1.5).
“The intermediate venues are something we need to work on because they are the majority of our 36-race schedule,” Smith added.
Smith and the Denver, Colo.-based team will have a short break from the intermediate tracks with the next three races scheduled on unique configurations — the .75-mile short track at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (April 28), the ultra-fast 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (May 6) and the daunting 1.366-mile Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (May 12).
“Those are three tracks that I feel we can do well on and start a positive streak,” noted Smith, who is the defending champion at Darlington and appeared to have a victory at Talladega before NASCAR ruled he passed below the out-of-bounds yellow line coming to the checkered flag in the October 2008 race.
But getting back to the Kansas race, Smith started 29th and could not shake out of the 20s in track position. He fought a loose-handling car all day, and with only three cautions during the 277-lap, 400-mile race, Smith finished four laps down.
“We just never got unglued even though we squeezed out a few more positions near the end,” said Smith. “Our over-the-wall crew did an outstanding job today. That was our lone bright spot.
“We’re going to work on our intermediate program and get it straightened out before we get to our next 1.5-mile points race in Charlotte (May 27). The season is still young.”
Smith is currently in a three-way tie for 20th-place in the driver point standings, but is listed as 22nd as a result of NASCAR’s tiebreaker policy of season highest finishes to date.
The Kansas race winner was Denny Hamlin. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.