DENVER, Colo. — Regan Smith’s Indianapolis performance (not the result) has the Furniture Row Racing driver feeling upbeat about this Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
“Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway are similar and if we can put another fast car on the track then we will be in position to have one of our best weekends of the season,” said Smith, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet.
Smith almost had his best weekend of 2012 in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. He ran in the top-10 for nearly the first 100 laps. But as he was looking to make a pass for the lead on Lap 100 of 160, his car made contact with another car, suffering left front-end damage and dashing any hopes of a stellar finish. His handicapped car took the checkered flag with an 18th-place result.
“The Indy finish was disappointing, but the silver lining was that we had a fast car,” explained Smith. “We’ve been struggling for speed this season, but based on Indy I am pumped to be going to Pocono. Indy has given us a strong baseline setup for Pocono, which makes the confidence level rise a few notches.”
Though Pocono and Indy are both 2.5-mile tracks with a little banking, Smith says he has all the confidence in new crew chief Todd Berrier to make the necessary tweaks to the No. 78 Chevy. The Pennsylvania 400 will be Berrier’s second race since joining Furniture Row Racing.
“Todd has the experience and his intensity level to make the car better is very cool,” stated Smith. “He has a lot of ideas right now and I like his confidence. I feel comfortable around Todd and also feel like we’ve been working together for a long time.”
In the June race at Pocono, Smith attacked the newly-paved Pocono Raceway surface. He qualified seventh and fought hard to finish 16th.
“I enjoy racing at Pocono, it’s a unique track — I guess that’s why they call it the tricky triangle,” noted Smith. “We have the potential to start turning things around this weekend. A performance like we had at Indy without any hiccups would be the right formula for our Furniture Row Racing team.”
Berrier echoes many of the Smith’s feelings.
“It’s been a smooth transition and I like everyone’s intensity level,” said Berrier. “We had a good start at Indy, but it wasn’t perfect. But I do get the feeling that we’re all on the same page and that’s a major first step when change takes place. The potential is there to get those top-10 or better finishes.”