Smith, Berrier Tandem Face New Challenge in Atlanta

DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2012) — The learning curve, which has moved along quickly and successfully between Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith and the team’s new crew chief Todd Berrier, will take on a new challenge this weekend when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Atlanta will be the first encounter as teammates for Smith and Berrier at a 1.5-mile venue, the length of the majority of races on the NASCAR circuit. (note Atlanta Motor Speedway actual length is 1.54 miles).

Since Berrier took over the crew chief duties at the end of July, he has directed Smith on two 2.5-mile tracks (Indianapolis and Pocono), a road course (Watkins Glen), a two-miler (Michigan) and a short track (Bristol).

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“It’s been said many times that if you want to be successful in NASCAR it’s important to have a good handle on the 1.5-mile tracks,” note Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet. “After the first two races with Todd, I felt our biggest obstacle was going to be the road course at Watkins Glen, but we came away with a top-10 there.

“I’ve been upbeat about our potential and heading to Atlanta hasn’t changed my optimism. Todd’s a veteran, he’s patient and has a plan. We have plenty to look forward to as a team.”

In the last five races with Berrier as crew chief, Smith has finishes of 18, 9, 9, 29 and 16 for an average of 16. Take away the 29th-place result when he got wrecked in Michigan while running in the top-12, his average finish drops to 13, well ahead of his season finishing average of 22.5.

“Our performance has picked up considerably and we would like to leave Atlanta with another top-10,” explained the 28-year-old Smith, who was testing this week at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway track.

Smith’s best finish at Atlanta in five career Cup starts was 14th in March 2010.

“Atlanta was one of those tracks where it took me a while to figure out,” said Smith. “But I am much more comfortable now that I have a few races under my belt there. Tire management will be important in Atlanta since the track surface there is a little rougher. As I’ve been saying each week, if we can avoid accidents and mistakes, we should be in good position at the checkered flag.”

Smith’s Career Record at Atlanta Motor Speedway

St Fn 2008 41 38 32 30

2010 38 14 27 17

2011 26 33

Smith’s 2012 Results Date Event St Fn Laps Status Prize Money Points Rank 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 8/12 Watkins Glen 13 9 90/90 Running 107,568 35/473 23 8/19 Michigan 18 29 154/201 Running 96,507 15/488 23 8/25 Bristol 14 16 500/500 Running 125,813 28/16 23 Avg. Start: 17.3 Avg. Finish: 22.5 Money: $2,850,691

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. Technical Director Phil Jimenez, Germantown, 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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