Smith, Furniture Row Racing Ready for Darlington; 6th Race of Season for Colorado-Based Team
DENVER, Colo. (May 6, 2009) -- Regan Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team will enter its sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season -- Saturday night's Southern 500 at historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
Though the Denver, Colo.-based team is running a limited schedule, it's been defying the skeptics who say you can't compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a part-time entry.
For starters, Smith has qualified in all five races that the team has entered this season, including top-10 starting berths at the last two Cup venues in Phoenix (9th) and Talladega (6th).
Regarding finishing positions in the five races entered, Smith has claimed two top 20s -- 19th at Las Vegas and 15th at Talladega plus a 21st in the Daytona 500. He was looking at another top 20 in Phoenix until a late pit road miscue relegated him to a 28th-place finish.
"Our performances have been better than the results," said the 25-year-old Smith. "When we show up to the track, we're not dismissed as a part-time team. We've been running right alongside a number of full time teams. It's been neat for everyone to feel the respect and it really says a lot about the progress of this Furniture Row Racing program."
Smith, who has never had a DNF (did not finish) in 46 career Cup starts, was at the team's shop in Denver earlier in the week to have his seat fitted in the new Furniture Row Chevrolet Impala SS.
"It's a new car we're bringing to Darlington and I am pretty sure it won't look anything like a new car after the race," offered Smith. "After spending a day in Denver and seeing the guys and the new car I am pumped about this week. I love being at the track and obviously love competing with the best of the best in our business."
Smith is looking to continue the team's consistency in Saturday night's race at Darlington's 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval.
"You never know when you're at Darlington," said Smith. "It's a nasty, tough track to race at. It's a cliche to say that you have to race the racetrack, but with Darlington you really have to be 110 percent fit and 110 percent mentally focused."
Smith has competed at Darlington in one Cup race and four Nationwide races. He finished 29th last year in Darlington's Cup event and has posted three top 20s in four Nationwide races, including a 12th-place finish.
When asked how many of the infamous "Darlington Stripes" he has received on his car, Smith said, "If you don't get a Darlington Stripe, then you're not driving hard."