Commitment Propels Smith, Furniture Row Racing to New Heights
June 15, 2011
On their way to Michigan International Speedway for this weekend's Sprint Cup race, Regan Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team took a detour to southeastern Virginia to test their road-racing cars at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in preparation for next week's road-course eventy in Sonoma, Calif.
"Because our team is based in Denver, Colorado that doesn't mean we can't do the same things as the teams based in North Carolina," said Smith. "The ownership and management at Furniture Row are deeply committed to putting the best product on the track week in and week out. Testing at VIR is only one small example of that commitment and the team guys are equally dedicated. As a driver it's a great feeling to know that you have this kind of support."
Smith knows that when he gets strapped into his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet for Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 that the potential is there to compete up front.
After the first 14 races of the season he has claimed one win (Darlington), one top-five and three top 10s. He has qualified in the top-five in 50 percent of the races and ranks second in starting average with a 9.571. Carl Edwards leads with a starting average of 9.357.
"Our recent 15th-place finish in Pocono was decent, but as I have said in the past, we're just okay with top 15s, we want to have results in the top-10 and top-five. Though we're making steady progress, we need to get stronger if we want to get in the top-20 in points and have a possible wild card spot in the Chase."
With his one victory this season, Smith could land a wild card Chase berth based on NASCAR's new criteria for making the post-season lineup. But in order for Smith to take advantage of the victory he needs to be positioned in the top-20 in points.
"We gained some ground last week by picking off two positions," noted Smith, who is currently 27th in points, 47 shy of the coveted top-20 ranking. "We know it's doable, but we can't afford the big mistakes or the big crashes."
The two-mile Michigan track is a facility where Smith and the Furniture Row team feel they can make up ground, barring any unexpected issues.
"Michigan is a track where I truly feel we can produce a strong performance," explained Smith. "It's wide and you can pass there. Last year we had solid performances at MIS but didn't get the finishes (21st and 23rd) that our Furniture Row Chevrolet deserved. It's time to change that and come away with a strong finish and a bunch of Sprint Cup driver points."