Sprint Cup - Snapping Another Jinx Is Smith's Indy Goal
DENVER, July 28, 2011: It's been a year of snapping jinxes for Regan Smith, who is looking to erase more bad memories while competing in this weekend's Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Furniture Row Racing driver is looking to reverse the misfortunes that he encountered at the last two Brickyard races.
"Taking in all factors about Sunday's race, I truly feel that our Furniture Row Chevy has the potential to do something special at Indy," said Smith. "We had a pretty good run going there last year until a mechanical issue spoiled our day, which was also the case the year before."
Smith was running inside the top-15 at last year's Brickyard 400, but at the mid-point of the race (Lap 101 of 200) smoke started to fill his cockpit due to a burned rear-end gear. After a number of unscheduled pit stops and a trip to the garage, Smith ended the day with a 33rd-place result.
"I was bummed after last year's race because this is Indy, one of our biggest races, and to see a strong performance go south that quickly was very discouraging," recalled Smith.
The good news for Smith: he does realize that jinxes don't last forever. He seemed to be jinxed at the Daytona 500, but he snapped that problem this year by finishing seventh in February's season-opening race.
A few months later Smith snapped his win jinx. After seeing victory snatched away from him at the 2008 Talladega fall race due to a final-lap passing penalty, Smith rode his Furniture Row machine to a win in May at the Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C.
"It's been a pretty good year, but still could be better," stated Smith, who has three-top-10 finishes to go along with his victory. "Yes, we've had some things go our way, but there have also been races that we let a strong performance slip away due to unforced errors. But Indy is a track that we know we can do well on."
Smith will be driving a new Furniture Row Chevrolet at the Brickyard and his crew chief, Pete Rondeau, feels things are in place for a successful weekend.
"I don't like to predict because there are too many variables in this sport," said Rondeau. "What I do know is that we'll be prepared for this weekend, and minus an unforeseen issue, the Furniture Row Chevrolet should have a good day on Sunday. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."
Though the mechanical issues the past two years at Indianapolis were scarring for Smith, it doesn't dampen his enthusiasm about racing at the historic 2.5-mile oval.
"Going through the tunnel and then seeing the enormity of Indianapolis Motor Speedway gives you a few chills," said Smith, who started racing as a 4-year-old in central New York. "This is an incredible venue and I am truly honored to have the opportunity to race at this historic track."