Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/15/14

DENVER, Colo. –  Kansas will be top of mind for Regan Smith in this weekend’s Geico 400 Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

“I’m just as excited about heading to Chicagoland Speedway as are the 12 Chase drivers,” said Smith. “The reason for the optimism is that we’re taking the same Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet that we tested with in Kansas a few weeks ago. We were really fast in the Kansas test session, which is a 1.5-mile track like Chicagoland.”

Smith feels his Denver-based team has strength when it comes to the mile-and-a-half ovals, but his recent result at Atlanta Motor Speedway — another 1.5-miler — left him with a personal score to settle.

“We had a top-10 locked at Atlanta — I think we were running ninth and nobody was near us, but then with four laps to go a caution came out and during the two-lap overtime restart our car couldn’t get up to speed on fresh tires and we got shoved back to a 14th-place finish. I know the 12 Chase drivers are going to be competitive this weekend, but I truly feel that we can get that top-10 that slipped away in Atlanta.”

Smith has only started three Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland, but has shown a progression of improvement. He finished 34th in 2008, 20th in 2010 and 17th last year.

“What we need to do is not play catchup in Friday’s two practice sessions,” stated Smith. “Getting the car dialed in early and then fine tuning it is our goal along with a strong qualifying effort on Saturday.  Last week in Richmond we didn’t take advantage of our third-place start. We were off in the beginning and when the car got better we were already two laps down. That’s what we need to avoid at Chicagoland.”

While the majority of the eyes will be focused on the 12 Chase drivers during the 10-race playoff format, Smith sees it as an opportunity.

“If we can run with the Chase guys it will give our team a big lift,” said Smith. “When we’re competing in the race, I really don’t give much thought who the Chase drivers are. They’re going to fight for every position and I will do the same.”

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Would Percy Harvin take pay cut to return to Jets?

Nationals GM disappointed Bryce Harper missed NatsFest

Broncos to place Montee Ball on season-ending IR

Johnny Manziel could have made $8-10 million in college?

Will Muschamp says his only offer came from Auburn

NFL relocation to Los Angeles is gaining steam

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Adrian Peterson to consider running in Olympics

Broncos sign CB Chris Harris to five-year extension

Floyd Mayweather wants to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2

Braxton Miller's father says son will return to Ohio State

Porn star gets into funny Twitter exchange with Eagles player

Report: Muschamp is Auburn's next defensive coordinator

WATCH: Mavs play keep-away with Marreese Speights' shoe

WATCH: OSU's Sam Thompson throws down awesome dunk

WATCH: Glass shatters during ECHL game, injures fans

Urban Meyer boasts about his Ohio State accomplishments

Final Heisman Trophy projections

The five best rookie wide receivers of 2014

Current, former Auburn players react to Will Muschamp hiring

Nick Young after game-winner: I'm rough like Scott toilet paper

Sidney Crosby undergoing tests for the mumps

Kentucky wears Alex Poythress 'Roar for 22' shirts

Brett Lawrie visits girl who was devastated when he got traded

Yoenis Cespedes’ value lies solely in his name

NASCAR News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Nats GM 'disappointed' in Bryce Harper

Final Heisman Trophy projections

The five best rookie receivers of 2014

NFL relocation to LA looks likely

Peterson thinking about Olympics?

Brett Lawrie makes little girl's day

Braxton Miller returning to OSU?

Adrian Peterson appeal denied

Winners and losers of the Winter Meetings

Key evidence tossed in Hernandez trial

Porn star, Eagles player have funny Twitter exchange

Game of the week: 49ers vs. Seahawks

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.