Smith Returns to Bristol With an Extra Bounce in His Step

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 2009) -- Regan Smith enters this weekend's Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway with plenty of excitement. The 25-year-old driver and 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year not only signed a new contract for 2010, but he also learned that his Furniture Row Racing team will run a full schedule next season.  

The Denver-based team has been competing part-time in 2009 with Saturday night's Bristol event being the 12th race of the season. Smith has a perfect qualifying record in the previous 11 races and has stretched his running at the finish streak to 52 races. He has never had a DNF.

"It's been a good week with a new contract and knowing that we'll be a full-time team next year," said Smith. "We just want to make the week better by topping it off with a solid performance at Bristol."

Returning to Bristol will always have a special fondness for Smith, whose first career Cup start was at the half-mile oval in March 2007 while driving for Ginn Racing and sharing the team's ride with Mark Martin.  It was indeed an auspicious debut for Smith, who started 12th and finished 25th.

"I was so happy to hear that Bristol was added to our schedule a few weeks ago," said Smith. "It's a great place to race and I feel that our Furniture Row Chevy can produce a strong finish there. I have had some decent runs at Bristol in the past and that makes me even more excited."

This will be Smith's first race at Bristol since last August when he started fourth and finished 14. He ran in the top five for the majority of the event before slipping to 14th.    

"I was disappointed that it wasn't a top-10 last year," noted Smith. "That's our goal for this weekend and it would sure give everyone a big lift at Furniture Row to score a top 10."

So far in the 2009 season, Smith has posted six top-22 finishes in 11 races with his best results of 12th at the July Daytona race and 15th at Talladega in April.