Smith, Furniture Row Racing Eyeing 2011

DENVER, Colo. (Nov. 10, 2010) -- As the 2010 Sprint Cup season is winding down with the penultimate race scheduled for Sunday (Nov. 14) at Phoenix International Raceway, Regan Smith is looking at the final two events as an extension to the 2011 season.

"If you have a bad race during the season you only have to wait four or five days before you get back into the car," said Smith. "That's not much time for reflecting and feeling down. But it becomes a different scenario at this time of the year, you want to end the season knowing that you're gaining and picking up speed. If you're on the other end of the performance spectrum you have nearly three long months to think about it. Ouch!"

The good news for Smith and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team is that they've been closing out the year with their best racing of the season  But with two races remaining, Smith wants to make sure the recent performance level continues and there's not a detour.

"We're so excited about the future of Furniture Row Racing that sometimes we lose a little patience," explained Smith. "We want the baby steps to become giant steps, but we know better that this is not the way the improvement meter works."

If you take away the Martinsville race (Oct. 24) where Smith got hit and shoved into the wall, the team's performance in the last 10 races is a vivid sign of improvement. In nine of the last 10 races, Smith has posted three top 13s and five top 20s, including two 12th-place finishes. Smith's average finish during this period is 19.11 compared to an average finish of 26.66 for the first 24 races of the season.

"That's an increase of seven positions -- a nice jump," said Smith. "Now if we can improve another seven positions we'll be looking at Chase material. But we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, we have a long way to go, but we're on the right track with our Furniture Row Chevrolet."

Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 will be Smith's fifth start at the one-mile Phoenix oval. At the Phoenix spring race, he finished 26th.