DENVER, Colo. (April 27, 2011) – A respectable finish, followed by a rare weekend off, have resulted in a needed mood swing for driver Regan Smith and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team.
After experiencing a six-race, hard-luck streak, Smith came back to post a 15th-place finish two weeks ago at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Though Smith was not pleased with the finish at the time he took the checkered flag, he has since realized that it was a decent result, considering what he and the team endured in the previous six weeks of competition.
“We were much better than 15th at Talladega and felt we had a shot at winning the race,” said Smith, who led five different times in the superspeedway event. “But looking back at that performance and the final result, it was an important step to where we want to eventually get to. I feel better now about the Talladega performance than I did after the race. I was actually bummed after the race because we ran up front for most of the day. Losing our drafting partner late in the race proved costly for our Furniture Row Chevrolet.”
Smith is looking to build on the Talladega finish in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race — Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
“I really like the Richmond track even though we haven’t had much success there,” said Smith. “We’ve been through an awful period of bad luck and hopefully Talladega’s finish is the start of good things for our Furniture Row Chevrolet. Deep down I know we can perform with the leaders — our qualifying efforts have proven that. But if we can’t avoid trouble we’re never going to get there. I am not looking for good luck, I just don’t want any bad luck. It’s our job to make the good luck. It’s time that we live up to some of those preseason expectations.”
Smith has indeed knocked it out of the park in Sprint Cup qualifying during the first eight races of the season. His starting average of 7.8 leads the Cup series.
“Yes, it’s been disappointing that we haven’t been able to take advantage of our excellent starting positions,” noted Smith. “But our qualifying efforts have been a big boost to the overall team morale. We’re going to try and qualify on the pole at every race. Fridays have been a lot of fun this year.”
Smith has only five Cup starts at the .75-mile Richmond track. His best finish was 21st in May 2008.