While running in 18th place on Lap 197 of 267, Smith reported a problem with his No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet. He was instructed to bring the car to the team’s garage stall where it was determined there was internal engine damage. Smith did not return to action and was credited with a 34th-place finish.
“Obviously a very frustrating ending,” said Smith. “We ran strong in the beginning and then had some issues on pit road that pushed us back in the pack. But we kept on plugging away and just before the engine started to smoke, I felt we were on pace to have at least a top-15 finish.”
Smith, who produced a strong qualifying effort of seventh, ran in the top-10 until the first pit stop on Lap 42.
“We had it going early but a couple of miscues halted our momentum,” noted Smith. “We did fight back but when you see smoke coming out of the hood, you know it’s only a matter of time before it all comes to an abrupt halt.”
With nine races remaining, Smith is 23rd in driver points.
The Chicagoland race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer.
There were 16 lead changes among nine drivers and four cautions for 23 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (Sept. 23) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.