DENVER, Colo. (March 23, 2011) — Auto Club Speedway, site of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup race, has been a good fit for Regan Smith, which was evident by his two solid performances last season at the two-mile oval.
During the 2010 February race at the Fontana, Calif. facility, Smith’s was running solidly in the top 10 late in the event until a pit-road miscue knocked him back to a 19th-place finish. At the October race, Smith again found himself in the top 10 late in the event, but slipped to 12th for his best result of the season.
“I like the California track, we had two strong races there in 2010,” said Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet. “Our 12th-place finish in the fall was the catalyst in getting us to a new level of competition.”
Following the October race in California, Smith notched a 13th place result in Charlotte and came back a couple of weeks later with a 13th-place finish in Talladega. That made it three top-13s in the final seven races of 2010 for the Furniture Row Racing team.
That momentum carried into this year’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway where Smith was contending for the Daytona 500 victory until a multicar accident with a few laps remaining relegated him to a seventh-place finish.
“Right now we could use another boost and I can’t think of a better place than Auto Club Speedway to get us back to where we should be,” noted Smith.
While Daytona Speedweeks has been Smith’s highlight of the young season, he has continued with strong performances, especially in qualifying.
Smith posted top-five qualifying efforts in two of the last three races and each time he was the fastest Chevrolet driver. He qualified fifth in Phoenix and was third last week in Bristol.
“The Furniture Row Chevrolet has been fast almost every place we’ve been this year,” explained Smith, “But we haven’t had the finishes due to bad racing luck. We did OK in Bristol (22nd), but we’re still in the rebound mode after taking a major hit in Phoenix (accident) and Las Vegas (engine). We need to put a nice streak together, which we are more than capable of doing.”
Smith added, “We’ve done well on the 1.5 and 2-mile tracks in the past so that is encouraging for our Furniture Row Racing team.”