Smith, Furniture Row Racing Eyeing More Improvement
DENVER, Colo. (June 9, 2010) -- Regan Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team are on an encouraging roll as the Colorado-based team heads east for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
"Though we're not content with our recent performances, I feel we're on a positive run and only see us getting better as the season wears on," said Smith, who has produced three top-20 finishes in the last four races.
The current top-20 streak started with a 17th-place result at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in early May and continued with finishes of 19th in Charlotte (May 30) and 18th last week at Pocono.
In two of those three races Smith felt his team had the potential for its first top-10 finish.
"I thought we had the package for a top-10 in Darlington and Pocono," stated Smith. "The good news is that we know that top 10s are now realistic goals for our Furniture Row team. Before it was top 20s, now it's top 10s. We hear so many times that you need to take baby steps in this business. Well, we are doing that, but we're also anxious to get to that next level."
Smith's crew chief Pete Rondeau is a veteran of the NASCAR wars and experience tells him to keep the emotions in check.
"We're picking away and it's working," said Rondeau, who took over the team's crew chief reigns prior to the May 30th Charlotte race. "There's no need to get excited and no need to get down. As long as you keep on making progress then you're heading in the right direction."
Smith and his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet are looking to keep on heading in that "right" direction in Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan's 2-mile oval.
"I haven't had a lot of experience at Michigan, but it's fast and you can pass there. I think everyone likes those two characteristics of a race track -- I know I do," noted Smith, who has two starts in the Cup series at Michigan -- both coming in the 2008 season. "This track is similar to California and we had an outstanding run going there until I made a mistake on pit road late in the race."
Smith is referring to how he was running in the top-10 late in the California race (Feb. 21) when he slid too far in his pit box, which cost him valuable track position. He finished 19th.
"California and Michigan are both two-mile tracks and hopefully we'll be able to transfer our California data and make it work again this weekend," explained Smith.
Smith's recent results have also resulted in a climb in the Sprint Cup driver point standings. He gained three positions -- to 28 -- following Sunday's race in Pocono.