Smith will take a little "Tebow-Time" out of Daytona test session

DENVER, Colo. (Jan. 10, 2012) -- One of the perks of driving for a NASCAR team based in Denver is that your new "hometown hero" is none other than Tim Tebow. Regan Smith is packing his Denver Broncos hat along with his Furniture Row Racing helmet for NASCAR's Preseason Thunder, Thursday-Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

Smith, who is a Denver-area resident, is among the legion of Tebowmania fans who have been captivated by the Broncos pulsating excitement, which reached a fever pitch after Sunday's overtime playoff win.

"No matter how the Broncos season ends I have a new person who I personally and professionally look up to and that's Tim Tebow," said Smith on his twitter account soon after the Denver quarterback threw the game-winning touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Known as an avid hockey fan, Smith said the only time he watches an entire football game is when the Broncos are playing.

"I am not an ardent football follower, unless it's Tebow and the Broncos," noted Smith. "Living out here in Denver you really feel the excitement. I have never seen so many people wearing their team gear.

"What I like about Tim Tebow personally is that he is a stand-up individual. He is fixed to his values and truly feels in the things that he believes in. He is not shy to let people know that.  I think he is younger than me and yet he is somebody I Iook up to because of the way he handles himself both on and off the field. And I am really proud that Furniture Row Companies is involved with a fundraising affiliation with The Tim Tebow Foundation, which devotes a significant effort to serving orphanages around the world."

When asked if he would ever consider doing the signature Tebowing (the kneeling prayer bow with a closed fist to the forehead), the Furniture Row Racing driver did not rule it out. 

"I will cross that bridge when we win the next one," said Smith, who drove his No. 78 Chevrolet to victory at last year's Southern 500 Sprint Cup race in Darlington, S.C. 

Regarding the upcoming three-day preseason test session for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 26), Smith said the main focus will be on speed and understanding the effects of the new rules issued by NASCAR for restrictor-plate racing.

"We'll certainly be looking for the same things that everybody else will be looking for," stated Smith, who finished seventh in last year's Daytona 500. "The main focus will be on speed, speed by ourselves, paying close attention to who we are drafting with and obviously to see how we can maximize our performance with the new rule package. There will be plenty to learn during the three days of testing. It will be fun to get back to driving the Furniture Row Chevrolet."

Smith and the Furniture Row Racing organization are coming off their best season, which included a win, two top-fives and five top-10s in 2011.