It's Full Throttle for Smith as He Eyes All-Star Berth in Charlotte
DENVER, Colo. (May 19, 2010) -- After seeing performance improvement the past two weeks, Regan Smith and his Furniture Row Racing team are looking to kick it up a notch as the Colorado-based team settles into the Charlotte area for a pair of high-profile races within an eight-day period.
Smith is taking a no-holds-barred approach into Saturday night's Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 40-lap race for drivers who have not qualified for the evening's main event -- the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The top-two finishers from the Showdown along with a driver from a fan vote will be seeded into the 21-car all-star event.
"We know what we have to do, and that is to go as fast as we can for 40 laps in our Furniture Row Chevy," said Smith about the Showdown race. "From what we gained in performance the past two weeks, I feel we indeed have the potential to compete for those two spots. One thing I do know is that we're not going to hold back on anything. It's pedal to the metal for the entire length of the race."
Two weeks ago in Darlington, S.C. Smith ran in the top-15 for a good portion of the race before ending with a 17th-place finish. Last week was another solid effort with a 24th-place result in Dover, Del.
"The key for us is to continue to make headway from a performance standpoint," stated Smith. "We're basically a new team this year and we need to look at the big picture. And everything I am seeing and feeling is that we're making gains. That break-through race could come at any time."
While Smith will go all out in Saturday's Showdown, the team will also look to gather data for next week's Coca-Coca 600 Sprint Cup event, NASCAR's longest race of the season.
"We have some things we want to try for next week's 600-miler and the All Star weekend gives us an opportunity to test a few different combinations," said No. 78 crew chief Ryan Coniam. "We tested at Charlotte earlier and feel that we're coming into the race with a good handle of what is needed. It's always fun when you see improvement, and to continue the improvement will be our goal in the coming weeks."
Following Saturday night's all-star races, the Sprint Cup Series returns to the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday (May 27) for Coca-Cola 600 practice and qualifying. Practice continues on Saturday (May 29) and the 400-lap, 600-mile Memorial Day weekend classic is slated to begin Sunday afternoon (May 30) at 6 p.m. ET.