Smith Continues Qualifying Prowess; 4th Fastest in California
Regan Smith posted another strong qualifying effort in his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet.
By posting the fourth fastest speed in Friday's time trials at Auto Club Speedway, it marks the fourth time in the first five races of the 2011 season that Smith will have a top-five starting position. He started fifth in the Daytona 500 opener, fifth in Phoenix and third last week in Bristol. The only race he didn't qualify in the top-five was at Las Vegas where he was 12th fastest. His five-race average starting position is 5.8.
Smith will start Sunday's Auto Club 400 from the outside of Row 2, thanks to a fast qualifying lap at the two-mile oval -- 39.124 seconds at 184.030 miles per hour.
"Kudos to our crew chief Pete Rondeau and the entire team -- we made a huge recovery from practice," said Smith, who was 25th fastest in the earlier practice session. "We like this track and it's time to capitalize on our strong qualifying efforts. Our next step is to work on the car during Saturday's race-trim practices and get our Furniture Row Chevrolet dialed in for Sunday."
The pole winner was Juan Pablo Montoya (184.653 mph). Rounding out the top-five in order were: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Smith and Tony Stewart.