For the second consecutive week, Regan Smith finished a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the top 10 on Sunday. Smith got a ninth-place result at Watkins Glen, just as he did the week before at Pocono.
Sunday's finish was encouraging for a team which has had its share of struggles in 2012, as before last week it had not finished a race better than 14th.
NOTE: If you're looking for the complete NASCAR results from Watkins Glen, they're here.
"I am happy to come away with a top-10," Smith said. "We had to fight hard all day and that's what we did. I wasn't overly happy with the car on a couple of spots on the track and they were pretty crucial spots. Nonetheless, the guys worked hard in the pits with a strategy to get us up there. That's the kind of thing you need to do when you're not perfect on the track."
The uptick in performance coincides with a change atop the pit box.
Todd Berrier replaced Pete Rondeau as crew chief for the 78 team beginning three weeks ago at Indianapolis. Berrier, a veteran and the owner of eight Cup wins, has brought some much-needed experience to the single-car team operating on a fraction of the budget of the sport's top organizations.
"I am very proud of this team and very excited about what we've been able to accomplish recently," Smith said. "You need to get top-10s before you get top-fives, and top-fives will eventually turn into wins. We're on the right track and that's encouraging."
For Smith, a good run at the Glen was especially meaningful because the race was in his native New York.
"Watkins Glen is my home track and to cap off the weekend with a solid result is pretty special," Smith said. "I am real excited about going to Michigan next weekend."