Sprint Cup - Back in Comfort Zone, Smith Looking to Regain Momentum
DENVER, Oct. 13, 2011: It's known as the "Beast of the South", but to Regan Smith Charlotte Motor Speedway is the crème de la crème.
"I was asked last week in Kansas what are some of my favorite tracks and the first track that came to mind was Charlotte Motor Speedway," said Smith. "I probably should have said Darlington since we won there back in May, but it was Charlotte that I mentioned first. I've always felt comfortable at Charlotte, it's the perfect track."
Smith, who finished eighth in the spring race at Charlotte, returns to the 1.5-mile oval for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup race.
The Furniture Row Racing driver is looking to regain momentum after seeing his streak of four straight top-20s snapped last week in Kansas due to a pit-road speeding penalty.
"No argument from me, I messed up on pit road last week," said Smith. "We need to get that momentum back and I can't think of a better track than Charlotte for our Furniture Row Chevrolet to begin a string of successful runs."
Smith's results at Charlotte are a good indicator of how much he enjoys the facility. When he raced in the Nationwide Series full time, his first top-10 came at Charlotte and in five career Cup starts at Charlotte he has posted four top-20 finishes. His only non top-20 was a 23rd-place result.
"We have six races remaining and we're working so hard to get another big lift," stated Smith. "It's been the best season for me and for Furniture Row Racing, but we want to pick it up a few notches in the homestretch. We're close, I can feel it, but we need to finish the mission."
The 2011 season has indeed been the best for Smith and the single-car Furniture Row Racing team, which is based in Denver, Colo. After the 2010 season Smith and Furniture Row Racing did not have a top-10 finish in their career portfolio. But that has changed this season with Smith claiming a win, two top-fives, five top-10s and 15 top- 20s.
"We put an exclamation mark on our season in May at Darlington, but we want another one before we close out 2011," said Smith.