Smith Not Banking on Outside Help for Las Vegas Cup Race
March 2, 2011
Unlike millions of visitors to the world's gambling mecca, Regan Smith is not looking for any luck in Las Vegas.
"We just don't want any bad luck," said Smith, the Furniture Row Racing Sprint Cup driver. "Keep away the bad luck, then I am pretty confident our No. 78 Chevrolet will be in good shape when it's all said and done on Sunday."
Smith of course is referring to Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the third of the 36-race, 10-month NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule.
Smith and the Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team were riding an early season high after an impressive Daytona Speedweeks, which culminated with a seventh-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.
The team's success was continuing the following week at Phoenix International Raceway, where Smith qualified fifth as the fastest Chevrolet driver in the time trials. He kept the pace on race day as he was cruising in the top 10 and top 15 in the early stages of the 312-lap event.
But on Lap 67 his car got collected with major damage in a multicar wreckfest. The incident shoved Smith to a frustrating 34th-place finish.
"We had a solid showing for a while in Phoenix," noted Smith. "But we got caught up in that early 14-car accident. We're only looking at what happened there as a hiccup or a detour."
The good news for Smith is that the mile-and-a-half tracks such as Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been successful for the Furniture Row Racing team.
"The mile-and-a-half tracks have been our strong suit in the past and I don't see any reason for it not to continue in Vegas," stated Smith. "We're going there with the same focus and confidence we had after our strong showing in Daytona. The positive energy on this team has made the offseason and the beginning of the new season so much fun."
In his last two outings at the Las Vegas oval, Smith posted 19th and 21st-place finishes.
"Those weren't bad results considering we were at a different level of our program," explained Smith. "We have progressed since then and expect better. I feel much more confident and much more relaxed."
Two of Smith's top finishes in the second half of 2010 came at mid-size tracks. He was 12th at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. and 13th at the 1.5-mile Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.