Smith Looking to Break Short Track Jinx
September 8, 2011
When it comes to racing at Richmond International Raceway, Regan Smith feels upbeat, knowing that his Furniture Row Racing team has shown continued improvement on NASCAR's short tracks. But what has eluded Smith in 2011 is a top-10 or better finish on a short track (less than a mile).
"It hasn't been for a lack of performance because we had our chances this season to score some good finishes at the short tracks in Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond," said Smith, who qualified on the outside pole in the April race at Richmond. "But something always seems to happen near the end of the race to prevent us from having a strong result."
Smith is looking to reverse his short track misfortune in Saturday night's Wonderful Pistachios 400 at the .75-mile Richmond venue.
"Our single-car Furniture Row Racing team has come a long way this season," stated Smith, who has one victory, two top-fives and four top-10s. "But we just haven't achieved what we expected to accomplish on the short tracks.
Smith's best finishes at short tracks this season were 17th at Richmond and 18th at the recent race in Bristol, Tenn.
"Our best shot for a top-10 short track finish this year was in Martinsville (April)," noted Smith. "We had a brake rotor problem late in the race. We were pretty sure that we were headed for at least a top-10 before we experienced the brake problem. I am cautiously optimistic about this weekend. I like the Richmond track, it's always fun to race there. I also like the enthusiasm and atmosphere of the crowd. It's a special place with a lot of tradition."
Smith is coming off a frustrating finish in Tuesday's rain-delayed race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was running in the top 20 with 75 laps remaining, but then his No. 78 Chevrolet got clipped and crashed into the inside retaining wall.
"It was something that shouldn't have happened and it cost us a shot at having another strong finish," said Smith. "I wasn't happy with what happened, but we'll put that behind us and focus on Richmond. If we can have a clean race without being hit or have something go wrong mechanically we should be in good position when we take the checkered flag in Richmond."