Hockey Jabs Aside, It's Down to Business for Smith, Furniture Row Racing  

DENVER, Colo. (March 3, 2010) -- According to Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith, the gloating is over and the chemistry remains intact for the hard-charging Denver-based NASCAR Sprint Cup team.

Smith, an avid hockey fan, is still feeling the sting of Team USA's loss to Canada in Sunday's gold medal final. But for the two teammates he is close to during a race weekend -- Ryan Coniam (crew chief) and Cole Pearn (engineer) -- the feeling is 180 degrees opposite.

Coniam and Pearn, also avid hockey fans, are native Canadians, who have been reveling in Team Canada's 3-2 sudden death win, much to the chagrin of Smith.

"I didn't see the game, but from all accounts it was exciting to watch, except for the wrong team winning," said Smith. "My two Canadian teammates gloated a little, and took a few jabs at me. Of course, it was all in fun, and we know there's more important issues to discuss."

The primary issue at hand for Smith and the No. 78 Furniture Row team is to continue its improvement in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).

After three Cup events, Smith is 25th in driver points, despite being collected in an early accident in the season-opening Daytona 500 and finishing 39th. He rebounded with finishes of 19th in California and 21st in Las Vegas.  

"This is a greatly improved race team compared to what it was at this time last year," said Smith as he was leaving Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday.

The next test for Smith will be at Atlanta's ultra-fast and aerodynamic-sensitive track. The 1.54-mile surface has not been that kind to Smith, who did not qualify in the Furniture Row Chevy in last September's race at AMS.

"It's not that I don't like the Atlanta track, I just haven't spent that much time there," offered Smith. "I need to develop a better feel for the place."

Smith, 26, has competed six times at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- two each in Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. His Cup finishes were 38th and 31st in 2008. His Nationwide finishes were 21st in 2006 and 23rd in 2007. His placements in the two truck races were 29th in 2005 and 18th in 2007.