Smith's Goal is to Close the Deal, Starting at Pocono
June 2, 2010
DENVER, Colo. (June 2, 2010) -- Regan Smith is rarely satisfied, thanks to a competitive fire that started back when he was 4-years-old while racing quarter-midget type of cars in upstate New York. That burning desire to excel has increased at every level of competition Smith has raced at, including his current status as the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet in the premiere NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The affable Smith will respectfully acknowledge compliments for his recent performances, but deep inside he wants better and wants more of being better.
"I agree we're improving, but at some point we need to capitalize on our strong performances and not give up spots late in the race," offered Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year. "This is a team deal and we all -- including myself -- need to avoid costly hiccups at the end of the race. I understand this is a maturation process with a new team, but I hate it when we don't have a finish that equals our performance level."
Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was a prime example of what Smith is talking about. His Furniture Row Chevy was consistent throughout the marathon race and it appeared that it was going to have a top-12 to top-15 finish. But while running in 16th place a miscue on the final pit stop with 22 laps remaining cost the No. 78 team the opportunity to advance. Smith settled with a 19th-place finish.
"I guess when you look at the big picture we had a pretty good day in Charlotte which has us feeling upbeat for this weekend's race in Pocono," added Smith.
The 2.5-mile, three-turn Pocono (Pa.) Raceway will be the site of Sunday's Gillett Fusion ProGlide 500 Sprint Cup race. Smith is looking for another solid performance with direction from Pete Rondeau, who took over the team's crew chief reigns the week leading up to the Charlotte race.
"Pocono is a unique race with three different turns," stated Smith. "There's always going to be that one turn that will throw a wrinkle into the car setup. But Pocono is a long race that rewards patience and hitting the right marks."
Smith has three straight top-25 finishes and two top-20s in the last three races. He finished 17th three weeks ago in Darlington, S.C. and was 24th in Dover (May 16).
"We want those top 20s to eventually turn into top 10s," said Smith. "Then I will start feeling a little more satisfied, but most likely not totally satisfied."