Smith, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, fought through handling problems during the 300-lap race, but stood strong and patient to post a respectable result at New England’s Magic Mile.
“You just have to keep plugging away and that’s what we all did today,” said Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet. “We made some good calls on the pit box and the over-the-wall crew came on strong at the end. When things aren’t right and grip is an issue, you need to figure out a way to make the best of the situation. I feel we did that today.”
Crew chief Todd Berrier echoed Smith’s feelings.
“Regan was steady and got the most out of what he had,” noted Berrier. “We hung in there and battled for every position. Obviously we wanted a better result than 16th and I am disappointed that we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do. On the other hand, it’s hard not to be proud of how this entire team stayed positive throughout the race.”
Smith, who started the race from the 22nd position, ran as high as 14th. He did slip back into the low 20s, but drove hard to get back into the mid-teens.
“It was evident that this was not an easy race for a lot of the teams,” explained Smith. “But our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet came through with a decent finish. The last pit stop was excellent and that gave us a big boost. There was no quit in this team.”
The race winner was Denny Hamlin. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman.
There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers and four cautions for 17 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (Sept. 30) at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.