Regan Smith: Love of Hockey No Match for Cup Racing
DOVER, Del. (May 27, 2009) -- Since his last race in Darlington, S.C. (May 9), Regan Smith said he's been bored. What kept him from being REALLY bored was his rabid following of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With the Hurricanes getting ousted Tuesday night by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, the timing couldn't be better for Smith to return to Sprint Cup racing in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.
As part of the team's current 15-race schedule (three more than the original schedule) Smith will compete in the next two Cup races -- this weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and the following week at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
"I love hockey and I love the 'Canes, but it's racing that I love the most," offered Smith, the 2008 Cup Rookie of the Year. "I've been getting really antsy over the past couple of weeks. I can't wait to see the guys and get back on track. The idea that we'll be running for two straight weeks suits me just fine."
"And yes, I am proud of the 'Canes, the team had a great run in the playoffs," added Smith.
Though it's a part-time team competing in NASCAR's elite series, the results by Smith have not looked anything like a part-timer.
The 25-year-old sophomore driver has competed in six Cup races this season and has had four top-21 finishes. Had it not been for a pit road miscue in Phoenix, it would have been five top-21 runs. Smith's best finish was 15th in Talladega and he has qualified in the top 10 twice.
"Regan is an awesome driver and will always give you more than what you bargain for," stated Furniture Row crew chief Jay Guy. "I know our finishes don't look that bad, but in reality we could be a whole lot better had it not been for a couple of bad breaks."
Smith has competed twice in the Cup series at Dover -- last year while driving the 01 Chevy for Dale Earnhardt Inc. He best finish at the Monster Mile was 21st at the spring race.
"I've raced at Dover in all three series -- Cup, Nationwide and truck --- and each time I race there I like the place more," noted Smith. "If we can get the Furniture Row Chevy Impala SS dialed in, we'll be competitive in both qualifying and the race."
Smith's 2009 Results
Daytona 42 21
Las Vegas 18 19
Texas 33 31
Phoenix 9 28
Talladega 6 15
Darlington 29 21