Smith Pumped About New York Homecoming
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 4, 2010) -- Regan Smith returns to the area where his craft as a stock car driver started to take shape.
The 26-year-old NASCAR Sprint Cup driver for Furniture Row Racing grew up in Cato, N.Y., approximately 70 miles north of the Watkins Glen International road course, which will host Sunday's Sprint Cup race -- The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen.
Smith's rise to NASCAR's top rung of racing started well before his teenage years by winning divisional, regional and state championships in a quarter-midget type of car (a microd) in the Syracuse, N.Y. area and throughout central New York.
Smith, who now lives outside of Charlotte, N.C. in the hub of NASCAR country, will be competing in his second career Cup race at Watkins Glen International. His first was in 2007 when he qualified a Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet 10th and finished 27th in a partially-damaged car. He also drove in two Nationwide Series races at the Glen, finishing 19th in 2005 and 23rd in 2006.
"This is the area where it all began for me and it's always exciting to come back to central New York," said Smith, the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year. "I still have roots here and want to do the best I can for family, friends and area fans who have been so supportive of my career."
Smith added, "Growing up in central New York and being a huge race fan I've always considered the Watkins Glen track as a historical landmark. It's a special feeling to race there and I just hope things work out well for our Furniture Row Racing team."
Smith is coming off a 21st-place finish in last Sunday's race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. His No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet has been a top-20 car and Smith feels the team is on the cusp of reaching the next level.
"We've had flashes of running in the top-15, but something always seems to happen that shoves us back a few positions," noted Smith. "We're on the right track and it's going to take time, but we've got it together."
Furniture Row Racing, which is based in Denver, Colo., is enjoying its best season since entering the NASCAR Cup world with nearly a full schedule in 2006. Smith has had six top-20 finishes in 2010 with a best result of 14th.
"It's gratifying to see the improvements we've made over the years as a team and as an organization," said Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing's general manager. "We still have a ways to go, but we all know that we're heading in the right direction."