Martinsville: Regan Smith race report

Once Again Smith Accomplishes Mission in U.S. Army Chevy MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 1, 2007) -- U.S. Army driver Regan Smith completed another successful mission. In only his second career Nextel Cup start, Smith claimed a 26th-place result...

Once Again Smith Accomplishes Mission in U.S. Army Chevy

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 1, 2007) -- U.S. Army driver Regan Smith completed another successful mission.

In only his second career Nextel Cup start, Smith claimed a 26th-place result Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. And more important than the result, the 23-year-old driver finished the race as he did last week at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"When your first two Cup starts are at Bristol and Martinsville -- probably two of the hardest tracks for any rookie -- and you stay out of trouble and finish both races you need to take a deep breath and say, 'not bad'," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "It's all about gaining experience for Regan and that's exactly what he did the past two weeks.

"Obviously we would have liked to have finished better, but we didn't make any big mistakes and we learned plenty about each other. It's a work in progress and we're heading in the right direction."

Smith also gave a candid assessment of his first two Cup races.

"I'm going through an adjustment period right now," said Smith. "Just getting used to these Cup races and how these guys race are things I am still learning. I know it will get better with time and experience."

"But when you look at the big picture, you want to finish the race, you want to get experience and you want to earn respect," added Smith, who finished 25th at Bristol last week. "We have done that. I might not have been as aggressive as I would have liked to have been the last two races, but at the same time the objective was to finish the races and gain experience."

Smith, who shares the 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet ride with Mark Martin, said he was happy about the way the 01 team rallied back Sunday after a slow start on the half-mile flat track.

"I wish we had another 100 laps," said Smith. "We were at our best at the end. We weren't quite as good in the beginning and that cost us. We're all learning. I'm a rookie and the guys are doing a good job putting up with me until I get more experience. Like our soldiers, we never gave up or let anything get us down. We work as a team and battle through whatever adversity we face."

Smith, who raced on NASCAR's two shortest tracks the past two weeks, will make his next Cup start at the circuit's biggest track -- the 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 29.

"It doesn't get any easier, but I can't wait to get back with these guys and drive the soldiers' car." said Smith.

The 01 Army team will have Easter weekend off and resume action April 15 at Texas Motor Speedway. Martin, who drove the Army car at the first four races, will pilot the 01 Chevy in Texas.

-credit: gr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Regan Smith , Mark Martin