SONOMA, Calif. (Army News Service, June 25, 2007) - The final result sheet will show that Regan Smith finished 30th in his maiden Nextel Cup road race. But what the statistics won't show is how the rookie Army driver improved during the second half of Sunday's event at Infineon Raceway.
"We're all disappointed walking out of here with the finish we had," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "But we also feel that we made some positive gains late in the race that will definitely be included in our notebook for the next road race."
Mr. Smith started 26th, but fell back early due to a tight-handling car. The Army crew made a number of adjustments to free the handling and it finally came together following a pit stop on Lap 58 of 110.
"I just couldn't get our Chevrolet to handle the way I wanted," Mr. Smith said. "It was a struggle out there but I started to feel comfortable past the half-way mark. Unfortunately we were too far behind to pick up track position."
"I'm disappointed right now and it will take a little time to get over this," he added. "But there were positives and that's what I will eventually be focusing on."
The race was Mr. Smith's fourth career Cup event - all in the No. 01 Army Chevrolet. He is sharing the 01 ride this season with veteran Mark Martin. Mr. Smith will also compete in next week's Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. He will also drive in the next Cup road race - Aug. 12 in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
The 01 Ginn Racing team dropped three spots in owner points and is currently ranked eighth.