DENVER, Colo. (April 18, 2012) — All the talk about Furniture Row Racing being based in Denver, approximately 1600 miles from NASCAR’s main hub in Charlotte, N.C., takes on a different twist this week as the Sprint Cup Series will be in America’s Heartland competing at Kansas Speedway.
The 1.5-mile facility located in Kansas City, Kan. is called the home track by Furniture Row Racing since it’s the closest venue — approximately 600 miles and 11 hours to the team’s shop in Denver.
While it will take the team haulers from North Carolina approximately 16 hours to reach the Kansas track, one wonders if this is an advantage for Furniture Row Racing, which also had a shorter drive home from last week’s race in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Not really,” said Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone about the team’s driving distance to Kansas. “It’s nice for our truck drivers to have a few shorter trips, but it’s not going to make a difference on how we perform on the track. The reverse can also be said when we have to travel further distances than the teams based in North Carolina.”
Team driver Regan Smith would be happy for even a minor advantage to get his No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet untracked.
“We seem to be stuck with finishes in the mid teens to mid 20s,” said Smith. “However, we had good meetings at the shop this week and are working extremely hard to figure out why we’ve been struggling on some of the bigger tracks this year.”
In the first seven races of 2012, Smith has four top-20 finishes, a 23rd and two 24th-place results. His best finishes were 15th in Las Vegas and 16th in Martinsville, Va.
“Not really bad, but not really good either,” said Smith about his season finishes.
Turning the tables in Sunday’s STP 400 will not be an easy task for Smith, who has only four career Cup starts at the Kansas track with finishes of 32nd in 2008, 26th in 2010 and a pair of 24th-place results last year.
“To be honest, Kansas has been a hard track for me to figure out,” stated Smith. “It has indeed been a challenge, but each time I go there I feel more confident. Hopefully this will be the turning point weekend for our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet.”
Smith enters the Kansas race 21st in driver points. He fell three positions after finishing 23rd last week in Texas. He is only 17 points from 14th.
“A good result will get back what we lost in the standings,” said Smith following Saturday night’s Texas race. “But right now it’s not about the standings, we need to string together some solid finishes and build momentum. Good results always seem to take care of the point standings.”
Smith’s Career Cup Record at Kansas Speedway
St Fn 2008 35 32
2010 13 26
2011 11 24 16 24
No. 78 Over-the-Wall Crew Front-tire changer Shane Pipala Front-tire carrier Jon Bernal Rear-tire changer Coleman Dollarhide Rear-tire carrier: Dwayne Moore Jackman: Gabe Martin Gasman: Justin White 2nd Gasman: Ryan Bergenty 7th Man/Windshield: Todd Carmichael _____________________________________________
No. 78 Road Crew Crew Chief Pete Rondeau Competition Director Mark McArdle Car Chief Robert Huffman Engineers: Phil Jiminez, Matt Faulkner Spotters: Rick Carelli, Clayton Hughes Engine Specialist Scott Meesters Engine Builder Earnhardt-Childress Racing Shock Specialist Nick Kerlin Tire Specialist Chad Krauch Technical Support Michael McCullough Mechanics Ryan Bergenty Todd Carmichael Joe Kerrigan Transportation Henry Benfield (also gas runner), Jim Gilbert, Dave Hicks Chuck Lemay, John Slingerland