February 16, 2009 2:15 PM
Smith, Garone disappointed but pleased
Driver Regan Smith was disappointed. So was team manager Joe Garone.
But maybe they should have been thrilled with the 21st place finish for the Furniture Row Chevrolet in Sunday's rain-shortened Daytona 500.
Both Smith and Garone figured they had a top 10 car but having watched a lot of races at Daytona International Speedway, I know that a lot could have happened in the 48 remaining laps if the race had resumed.
So a 21st place finished isn't bad for a single-car team based out of Denver.
"The Furniture Row team gave me a good car and it was fun to drive," Smith said. "The car got better as the race went on, thanks to great calls by our crew chief Jay Guy. We also had excellent pit stops. A great team effort for our first race together.
"I really wish we could have completed the full 200 laps because I truly feel that we had the equipment to finish in the top 10."
Garone's disappointment couldn't mask the positive experience gained from Speedweeks at Daytona.
"We were better than 21st, we all know that," Garone said. "But what's important is that we got off to a great start to the season. Just to qualify for this race was an accomplishment, and then to go out and run the way we did was both gratifying and encouraging. We are upbeat about our races."
FFR is planning to run a limited 12-race schedule and the next race will be March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.