Smith Continues to Face Learning Curve in Fontana Looks to veteran crew chief for guidance MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 20, 2008) -- Regan Smith heads into Sunday's Sprint Cup event continuing to fight the learning curve that comes with being a...
Smith Continues to Face Learning Curve in Fontana
Looks to veteran crew chief for guidance
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 20, 2008) -- Regan Smith heads into Sunday's Sprint Cup event continuing to fight the learning curve that comes with being a 2008 Rookie of the Year candidate.
With just seven Cup starts in his career, the 24-year-old driver is beginning to encounter tracks where he has few, if any, miles under his belt -- including California Speedway, the site of this weekend's Auto Club 500.
"Other than running some Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series races, that's really about all the track time that I have at Fontana," Smith said. "That's why the test there was so important for us. I needed to know what the current car felt like there."
Smith does have one advantage going into the 250-lap, 500-mile event -- a veteran crew chief with an excellent history at the two-mile D-shaped oval.
"Races like this are where (crew chief) Doug Richert's experience helps me a lot," Smith said. "He's got a wealth of information on every track and he's very good at giving me the feedback that I need to be a better driver."
Richert's record in Fontana includes a 2005 victory with driver Greg Biffle. He also has two runner-up finishes (Sept. 2005, Feb. 2006) and two top-10 results (Feb. 2007, Sept. 2007).
"I think our communication level is getting better every week," Smith added. "It's fun working with a guy who has been in the sport as long as he has. I think if we can stay out of trouble and be around at the end we'll have a pretty good finish. If we can do that, we'll all be happy."