Once again season finale has Smith feeling upbeat about future

DENVER, Colo. (Nov. 16, 2011) -- When Regan Smith walked out of Homestead-Miami Speedway following last year's final Sprint Cup race of the season, he felt confident that his Furniture Row Racing team was on the cusp of reaching a new level of competition.

"I felt we were knocking at the door of making a huge improvement," said Smith about the single-car Furniture Row team which is based in Denver.

Smith's sixth sense came to fruition a few months later at the season-opening Daytona 500 where he posted his first career top-10 result with a seventh-place finish. It was also Furniture Row Racing's first top-10.

The 2011 season only got better for Smith, who won the prestigious Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. He has also amassed a total of five top-10s in his No. 78 Chevrolet, including a third-place finish in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

One year later, Smith once again enters the Ford 400 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the same confidence and enthusiasm about the future of Furniture Row Racing.     

"We made some big gains this season as a team and accomplished many of our goals," said Smith. "But we still didn't accomplish everything we wanted to so there's still plenty to get done. But with that said, I feel we are at a point where we are ready to reach another level of competition. I have the same feeling I had last year at this time."

But before Smith takes that walk into the offseason, he has one more order of business for the 2011 season -- Sunday's 267-lap, 400-mile race at Homestead's 1.5-mile oval.

"The best time to build momentum for the following year is to have a strong finish in the last race of the season," noted Smith. "After what happened to us in Phoenix last week - being involved in an accident on the second lap - I can't wait to get back into the Furniture Row Chevrolet. Based on practice and qualifying we were looking for a good run in Phoenix. But it didn't turn out that way so we have one more race to show our mettle before we head into the offseason."