DENVER, Colo. (Nov. 2, 2011) — If there were an area where Regan Smith and his Furniture Row Racing team would like to see improvement it would be at NASCAR’s intermediate tracks — the 1.5 and 2-mile venues.
That’s why Smith is eagerly looking forward to two of the final three Sprint Cup races of the season — this weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway and the Nov. 20th finale at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Coming into the 2011 season we felt the intermediate tracks like Texas would be strong for our Furniture Row Chevrolet,” said Smith. “We’ve had some good runs on the 1.5 and two-mile tracks, but not as many as we had hoped for.”
Smith’s best run at an intermediate oval this season was eighth at the May race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the other 11 intermediate races he had three finishes between 11-19, four between 20-29 and four between 30-39.
“Some of those race finishes were a result of a mechanical issue or being collected in an accident,” noted Smith. “But overall we have not performed as well as we thought we would after some strong performances last season. We want to turn around the intermediate program, which is more than one-third of our races. That’s why this weekend’s race at Texas is important to our program.”
Smith feels the intermediate results should have been more in line with the team’s vast improvement this season, which has included a victory at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, a third at Indianapolis Motor Speedway plus five top-10s.
“Considering how much we improved this season, we should have been better at the intermediate tracks,” explained Smith. “I really like to close out the season with solid finishes at both Texas at Homestead, which would give us added confidence for the intermediate schedule next season. We didn’t get a chance to do much at Texas back in April since we crashed and took an early exit from the race. Right now, we’re coming off a decent performance at Martinsville (13th) and want to continue our progress at the final three races.”