Early Signs Encouraging for Smith, Furniture Row Racing
No. 78 Team Looks for Continued Improvement in Phoenix
PHOENIX (April 14, 2009) -- Regan Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team have entered only three Sprint Cup races this season and the early results have been encouraging for the single-car team based in Denver, Colo.
Smith has had finishes of 21st (Daytona 500), 19th (Las Vegas) and 31st (Texas) for an average of 23.7. That's 10 positions better than the team's 2008 season average.
"No question the atmosphere at our shop in Denver is exciting and we can't wait to get to the next race," said Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing. "The crew and Regan have a great chemistry and that usually adds to a shorter learning curve."
This is Smith's first season driving the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet and the 25-year-old is enjoying his new environment.
"Being a single-car team that competes part-time has not hindered a strong commitment to achieve success by the Furniture Row Racing organization." said Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year. "We're off to a decent start and I feel we have not yet hit our stride."
While Smith has had respectable performances early in the season, he has also continued his impressive streak of never having a DNF (did not finish) in his 44 career Cup starts, which dates back to the 2007 season.
"Again, my thoughts are what's ahead of me, not the past," said Smith. "I've always respected the work and the cost that goes into building these race cars."
The focus for Smith and the No. 78 crew is their next race, which will be Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway. It's a one-mile track that has similarities to the one-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo., where the Furniture Row team conducted multiple test sessions in preparation for the Phoenix event.
"As I keep on saying, this is a team committed to succeeding," noted Smith. "Testing at Pikes Peak gave us good data for Phoenix and that is mainly why we're optimistic about qualifying and having a good run this weekend. I also like the Phoenix track -- I feel very comfortable driving there."
Due to the current economic climate the Furniture Row team was initially scheduled to compete in 12 races in 2009. The number is now at 13 and could continue to increase, depending on additional sponsorship and the economy.
“We started with a 12-race schedule, but our goal has always been to add races,” said Garone. “Hopefully we’ll be in position to add a few more.”