Odds against him, Smith still has lofty wish list for Talladega

DENVER, Colo. (May 2, 2012) -- He might not call it a fantasy, but Regan Smith's goal this weekend is to have a clean-free, mistake-free and controversial-free race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

"It is possible to have that kind of race at Talladega, but history will tell you the probability of it happening doesn't carry good odds," said Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet. "But we set our goals high and are always looking for that perfect race."

While Smith would love to have the perfect race in Sunday's Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup race at the 2.66-mile oval, he would most likely settle for a solid effort and strong finish, which would end a three-race slump that saw him drop from 18th to 25th in driver points.

"After the past three races (finishes of 23rd, 24th & 27th) we need a turnaround performance to give us a jump start in  the right direction," explained Smith. 

There's probably not a better venue than at a superspeedway for Smith to achieve that much-anticipated performance. 

"Superspeedway racing has been a strong suit for both Furniture Row Racing and me," noted the 28-year-old Smith. "Maybe not the finishes, but the performances over the years at Daytona and Talladega have proven that fact. We've been right there contending for a win, but something has always seemed to bite us. We've had mechanical malfunctions, been collected in multicar wrecks, and of course that controversial penalty at Talladega (October 2008) that cost me a victory."

After crossing the finish line first in the 2008 fall race at Talladega, NASCAR ruled that Smith passed Tony Stewart  below the out-of-bounds yellow line. The victory went to Stewart while Smith dropped from first to 18th in the finishing order. 

"The only way to forget about what happened back in October 2008 is to take the checkered flag again and then drive to Victory Lane," stated Smith. 

Along with being at a superspeedway Smith is also excited that pack racing has returned to the big tracks, replacing the two-car tandem draft. 

"From all indications pack racing will be back in Talladega and I am sure the fans are going to love the close side-by-side racing," said Smith. "We could see some of the two-car tandem drafting, but for the most part it will be the old-fashioned restrictor-plate racing at Talladega. Personally that's the way I prefer it to be."

Smith has started nine Sprint Cup races at Talladega. He has three top-15 finishes with a best result of 12th in the 2010 fall race. 

Smith's Career Cup Record at
Talladega Superspeedway:

    ST FN  
  2007 (spring) 22 24  
  2008 29 21  
    4 18  
  2009 6 15  
    43 39  
  2010 31 38  
    39 12  
  2011 18 15  
    22 30  


No. 78 Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-tire changer: Shane Pipala, Frankfort Square, IL
Front-tire carrier: Jon Bernal, Holland, Mich.
Rear-tire changer: Coleman Dollarhide, Hickory, N.C.
Rear-tire carrier: Dwayne Moore, Griffin, Ga.
Jackman: Gabe Martin, Lake Wylie, S.C.
Gasman: Justin White, Lynnville, Tenn.
2nd Gasman: Ryan Bergenty, Plainville, Conn. 
7th Man/Windshield: Todd Carmichael, Redding, Calif. 


No. 78 Road Crew

  Crew Chief: Pete Rondeau, Saco, Maine  
  Competition Director: Mark McArdle, La Crosse, Wis.   
  Car Chief: Robert Huffman, Hickory, N.C.   
  Engineers: Phil Jiminez, Germantown, Tenn.  
    Matt Faulkner, Memphis, Tenn.   
  Spotters: Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.    
    Clayton Hughes, Thomasville, N.C.  
  Engine Specialist: Scott Meesters, Hanford, Calif.   
  Engine Builder: Earnhardt-Childress Racing  
  Shock Specialist: Nick Kerlin, Old Fort, Ohio  
  Tire Specialist: Chad Krauch, Loveland, Colo.  
  Technical Support: Michael McCullough, Imperial, Calif.   
  Mechanics: Ryan Bergenty, Plainville, Conn.   
    Todd Carmichael, Redding, Calif.   
    Joe Kerrigan, Canon City, Colo.   
  Transportation: Henry Benfield (also gas runner), Statesville, N.C.    
    Jim Gilbert, Belleville, IL  
    Dave Hicks, Montcalm, WVa.   
    Chuck Lemay, DeKalb, IL  
    John Slingerland, Sacramento, Calif.