Regan Smith Buoyant About Return to Central New York Roots

DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 8, 2012) — There’s nothing like coming home with a smile.

And right now Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith is beaming as he heads to what he considers his home track — Watkins Glen International — for Sunday’s second and final Sprint Cup road race of the season.

The 28-year-old Smith is a native of Cato, N.Y., located approximately 75 miles north of Watkins Glen and 25 miles west of Syracuse. He began his racing career as a 4 1/2-year-old, competing in a microd race car at the Syracuse Fairgrounds.

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“I love coming back to Central New York,” said Smith. “This is where it all began for me. We still have family and plenty of friends in the area. And knowing that we’ve had a couple of strong races recently will make the homecoming that much better.”

The reason for Smith’s extra bounce and wider smile as he returns to his Central New York roots is the way his No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet performed the past two races under new crew chief Todd Berrier. Smith is coming off a ninth-place finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, his first top-10 of the season. The race prior to Pocono — Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis — Smith was closing in on the lead with 60 laps remaining when the front-end of his car got damaged.

“The way we performed at the past two races is the way we expected to perform coming into the 2012 season,” said Smith. “Right now there’s not a person on this Furniture Row team who does not believe that we can continue with strong performances for the 15 remaining races. We have the potential to run in the top-10, top-five and contend for wins. You need to believe it before you can do it, and we have nothing but believers at our Denver shop.”

One reason for the recent success according to Smith is the smooth transition when Berrier took over the crew chief role.

“When Todd came on board so did our race engineer Cole Pearn,” explained Smith. “I worked with Cole in the past and even raced against him in our earlier days. Cole’s presence definitely helped in the transition. Todd and Cole are a great tandem and their intensity gets pushed on to others. I know it’s only been a few weeks, but I feel like I have worked with Todd for five years.”

Smith knows that Sunday’s race will not be the easiest. His road-racing experience is limited and he has only competed three times in the Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen, scoring his best finish of 23rd last year.

“Being that Watkins Glen is my home track I really want to put on a good show,” noted Smith. “It’s a fast road course and I’ve been intently watching tapes of past races. I want to know every mark on the track that I need to hit and what gear I want to be in. We don’t want our momentum to stall.”

Smith’s Watkins Glen International Sprint Cup Results

St Fn 2007 10 37

2010 27 34

2011 10 23 Smith’s 2012 Results

Date

Event

St

Fn

Laps

Status Prize Money Driver Points

Standing 2/27 Daytona 500 6 24 200/202 Running 357,034 21 23 3/4 Phoenix 3 20 311/312 Running 93,483 24/45 19 3/11 Las Vegas 28 15 267/267 Running 129,413 29/74 20 3/18 Bristol 6 24 496/500 Running 111,343 20/94 20 3/25 Fontana 22 20 128/129 Running 114,163 24/118 19 4/1 Martinsville 17 16 513/515 Running 106,343 28/146 18 4/14 Texas 26 23 332/334 Running 130,238 21/167 21 4/22 Kansas 29 24 263/267 Running 103,443 20/187 22 4/28 Richmond 15 27 398/400 Running 95,968 17/204 25 5/6 Talladega 31 40 15/194 Engine 87,275 4/208 27 5/12 Darlington 9 14 368/368 Running 117,488 30/238 26 5/27 Charlotte 10 17 398/400 Running 128,488 27/265 23 6/3 Dover 26 27 306/400 Running 103,702 17/282 25 6/10 Pocono 7 16 160/160 Running 101,393 28/310 24 6/17 Michigan 12 28 197/200 Running 87,160 16/326 25 6/24 Sonoma 31 32 109/112 Running 84,960 12/338 25 6/30 Kentucky 26 33 209/267 Accident 81,010 11/349 26 7/7 Daytona 25 34 133/160 Accident 96,555 10/359 26 7/15 N Hampshire 17 26 298/301 Running 100,818 18/377 26 729 Indianapolis 14 18 160/160 Running 180,483 26/403 24 8/5 Pocono 11 9 98/98 Running 110,043 35/438 24

Avg. Start: 17.667 Avg. Finish: 23.190 Money: $2,520,803

No. 78 Over-the-Wall Crew Front-tire changer Shane Pipala, Frankfort Square, IL Front-tire carrier Jon Bernal, Holland, Mich. Rear-tire changer Coleman Dollarhide, Hickory, N.C. Rear-tire carrier: Dwayne Moore, Griffin, Ga. Jackman Gabe Martin, Lake Wylie, S.C. Gasman Justin White, Lynnville, Tenn. 2nd Gasman Ryan Bergenty, Plainville, Conn. 7th Man/Windshield Todd Carmichael, Redding, Calif. _____________________________________________

No. 78 Road Crew Crew Chief Todd Berrier, Kernersville, N.C. Competition Director Mark McArdle, La Crosse, Wis. Car Chief Robert Huffman, Hickory, N.C. Engineers Cole Pearn, London, Ontario Matt Faulkner, Memphis, Tenn. Spotters Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo. Clayton Hughes, Thomasville, N.C. Engine Specialist Scott Meesters, Hanford, Calif. Engine Builder Earnhardt-Childress Racing Shock Specialist Nick Kerlin, Old Fort, Ohio Tire Specialist Chad Krauch, Loveland, Colo. Technical Support Michael McCullough, Imperial, Calif. Mechanics Ryan Bergenty, Plainville, Conn. Todd Carmichael, Redding, Calif. Joe Kerrigan, Canon City, Colo. Transportation Henry Benfield (also gas runner), Statesville, N.C. Jim Gilbert, Belleville, IL Dave Hicks, Montcalm, WVa. Chuck Lemay, DeKalb, IL John Slingerland, Sacramento, Calif. Dennis Valverde, Albuquerque, N.M.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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