Smith's Strong Run Stymied in Late Talladega Crash
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 23, 2011) -- Running in 10th-place and charging forward, Regan Smith saw a potentially strong finish fade in an instant when he got collected in an accident with six laps remaining in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.
The Furniture Row Racing driver was credited with a 30th-place finish in the Good Sam Club 500.
Before crashing hard into the concrete wall on the high speed, 2.66-mile oval, Smith suffered a major blow when his drafting partner Kurt Busch was involved in a race-ending incident on Lap 176 of 188.
With Busch on the sidelines, Smith was able to hook up with Casey Mears and moved from 24th to the top-10 in only a few laps. But on Lap 182, Denny Hamlin's car got into Mark Martin's car, who swerved uncontrollably into Smith's car, sending the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet into a violent spin and then into the wall.
"Yea that was not a fun hit -- but thanks to all the safety equipment and innovations we've had over the years," said Smith, who was evaluated and released from the infield care center. "But it is what we do at the restrictor plate tracks and unfortunately get caught up in other people’s messes. I don't know what happened. I was hoping we were going to have a good day. My partner, Kurt Busch, got wrecked earlier and it was not his fault either, but that is how it goes."
Smith and Busch, who became a forceful tandem back in February at the Daytona 500, were strong all day, running with the leaders on the 2.66-mile oval.
"We had it going, but when Kurt crashed, I was lucky to get Casey (Mears) as a partner," noted Smith. "We were moving forward until I got clipped by the No. 5 car (Mark Martin). We just haven't had good luck this year on the restrictor-plate tracks."
The race winner was Clint Bowyer. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday (Oct. 30) at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.