History is on Smith's, Furniture Row's Side at Talladega
October 28, 2009
DENVER, Colo. (Oct. 28, 2009) -- For Regan Smith, Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway is not about acquiring data for next season's full-time ride with his Furniture Row Racing team.
"We're going to Talladega to win the pole and win the race," said the 26-year-old Smith and driver of the No. 78 Chevy Impala SS.
While they might sound like lofty goals for a part-time, single-car team, there is history to back up Smith's comments.
Regarding the pole, the Furniture Row team qualified No. 1 at the 2008 Talladega spring race when Joe Nemechek was the pilot of the No. 78 machine.
And about winning the race at Talladega, Smith's been there, done that -- sort of.
A year ago at the Talladega fall race, Smith passed Tony Stewart on the final lap and proceeded to cross the finish line first. But after a brief celebration, Smith was informed that his manuever to get past Stewart was in violation of the NASCAR rule book due to making the pass below the out-of-bounds yellow line.
Stewart was awarded the win while Smith was relegated to an 18th-place finish in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. entry.
"It's been a year since that controversial decision and it's time to move on," said Smith. "Though I continue to disagree with NASCAR's call, it makes no sense to think about the what ifs. What I know is this -- we have the team, the car and the engine (Hendrick horsepower) to make a strong statement this weekend."
In his three previous superspeedway races this season, Smith finished 21st in the Daytona 500, 15th at Talladega in April and 12th at the July Daytona race.
"We're trending in the right direction at the Superspeedways and this could be the weekend when it all comes together," offered Smith.
While there's always the worry about qualifying for the main event, the worry meter recently took a jump for Smith due to the long-range weather forecast at Talladega.
"As it stands now, if qualifying gets rained out on Saturday, we go home," noted Smith. "The forecast I recently saw had showers for Saturday at Talladega. If it does rain, we hope it's early or later in the day."
Due to being a part-time team, the No. 78 Furniture Row team doesn't have enough starts to automatically qualify if time trials get rained out.
The Talladega race is the 17th of the season for the Furniture Row team. Smith has qualified in 16 of the races. The Denver-based team will also enter the final three races -- at Texas (Nov. 8), Phoenix (Nov. 15) and Homestead-Miami (Nov. 22).