Dover International Speedway
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET met with media and discussed his first Sprint Cup career win at Darlington last week, Furniture Row Racing team based in Denver, the upcoming All-Star race and more.
ON HIS WIN AT DARLINGTON AND HOW EXCITING IT HAS BEEN COMING TO DOVER “Yes, it certainly has been a busy week, but busy in a good way. It’s been kind of a whirlwind and certainly you couldn’t pick a better way to get a first win. I’ve just been really appreciative of all the comments and support that not only everybody in here (media center) has given, but also the drivers and fans. It makes it even more meaningful to me personally after being around the garage for quite a while. Man, I told my guys when we got here today that we need to get focused on getting another one because as much fun as that was, I want to get that thrill again. One of my favorite parts of the whole deal was getting out of the car and looking up and seeing my guys, in between getting doused with the Gatorade, and seeing the look on their faces because I would say for 90 percent of the guys on that team it was their first time to Victory Lane. The other 10 percent had maybe been there; I think (crew chief) Pete (Rondeau) was a car chief for a couple of wins and I know one of our engineers went to Victory Lane in the Shootout, but had never been to a point’s race (Victory Lane), so it meant a whole lot to our entire organization.”
HOW HAS THAT WIN CHANGED YOUR GOALS FOR THE YEAR, PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO THE CHASE? “Well, it has certainly changed them. One of the things we talked about roughly three weeks ago was, let’s get a win. Let’s try really hard to get a win and see what that does and take chances to make that happen, because we had dug a hole in points. Well, now we’re sitting I think 27th in points and I don’t know the exact number out but it’s maybe 28 or 29 or something like that. And we’ve got to focus on getting back into the top 20 because there is that chance that one win could get you into the Chase the way the system breaks down right now. And in order to do that, I think we’re just going to focus on doing the same thing we did last week. If the opportunity presents itself to take a chance or different things like that, then we’ll do it because if you get two wins, it’s certainly going to lock you into the Chase. There are some good tracks coming up for us and our team’s got confidence now. Obviously I’ve got confidence and we just need to go with the flow and who knows? You never know where we might be after Richmond.”
DID YOU PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION TO ALL THE DRAMA THAT WAS GOING ON BETWEEN KYLE BUSCH AND KEVIN HARVICK AT THE END OF THE RACE AND DURING THIS PAST WEEK? AND IF SO, DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT DISTRACTED WITH WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH YOUR WEEK? “Well, I honestly had no clue when I got to the media center last week and I asked what had happened. I honestly didn’t know what had happened. Since then I’ve seen it on TV and different things like that and heard about. I don’t think it took away at all from the win. This is a big sport and fortunately we have a lot of media that cover NASCAR and there can be more than one story in a week. It doesn’t just have to just be one story. And at the end of the day, that’s what makes our sport great is you’ve got the story of us out of Denver, Colorado being able to win the race and then you’ve got these guys over here fighting on pit road and that’s what NASCAR is all about. It’s excitement.”
Denver has really kind of taken us under their arm.
DOVER ISN’T ONE OF YOUR BEST TRACKS. DID YOUR WIN AT DARLINGTON HELP WITH YOUR ATTITUDE COMING IN HERE? “Well, certainly it helped out the momentum for us coming here, definitely. Dover, I love racing here. I don’t think we necessarily have the finishes to show for it but last year we had a really strong car the second race; and the driver decided to get three pit road speeding penalties in a row. And I learned a lesson. I didn’t realize this but after you get the second one, and you get the third one, NASCAR makes you do a stop-and-go on pit road. They don’t let you just do a drive-thru, so we lost quite a few laps doing that last year. The car felt great in the first practice, certainly; and I was real happy with the race trim stuff with it. We switched over and did a couple mock-up runs at the end and it felt decent in the mock-up runs. We bottomed out a little bit. Momentum never hurts anything. We’ve seen what the team is capable of now when we put everything together and we do everything right and we’ve got to focus on doing everything right on a consistent week-to-week basis.”
DID YOU OR THE TEAM RECEIVE A CONGRATULATORY CALL FROM GOV. HICKENLOOPER? “I guess Barney (Visser, team owner) did receive a phone call (according to PR Rep).”
HOW COOL IS IT, SINCE YOU’RE THE ONLY TEAM BASICALLY OUTSIDE OF CHARLOTTE, NC., TO BE RECOGNIZED LIKE THAT BY SOMEONE? “Well, it’s certainly very cool. We’ve worked very hard within Colorado to say hey, we’re Denver’s and Colorado’s race team and to have the governor call is neat. I’ll have to talk to Barney about that now that I know that. That means a lot to us. Denver has really kind of taken us under their arm and it’s been really neat to see what the media out there has done. They certainly give us attention like they would give the Broncos or the Avalanche and I wouldn’t have guessed that’s how that would go for when I first went to work for Furniture Row Racing. So it’s been neat to see. We talked with them all throughout the off-season and the start of this year and I was out there three weeks ago. And they said well, we’ve been qualifying good, when’s the first win going to come? And we kept saying we’ve got fast race cars, we just need to focus on finishing them off and getting top 10’s. So to get to take the trophy back and show it off there is meaningful and to have the governor call is really cool.”
THERE HAVE BEEN CRITICISMS ABOUT TEAMS STARTING AND PARKING AND FURNITURE ROW WAS ONE OF THOSE TEAMS YEARS AGO; AND FOLLOWED A PLAN AND STAYED WITH IT AND NOW HAS BECOME A WORTHY COMPETITOR. LOOKING BACK, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THOSE GUYS EARLIER IN THAT PROCESS? “Well, I’m not real familiar with the first couple of years. I don’t think that Furniture Row ever started and parked; they just struggled early on to have speed and to go fast. I think what our team did that was really unique, and looking back on it was one of the smartest moves we ever made, was when we went back in ’09 and did the part-time schedule and spent the money that we could spend to run the races good; got some experience and got some exposure; that was the best move we ever could have made. Then it prepared us for okay, let’s get back after it in 2010 and we’ve just been building ever since then. Certainly we’ve got great help from RCR with the chassis and the engines, but we still have to build our own race cars and hang our own bodies and do all our own stuff to find speed. At the end of the day, they’ve helped us with that but we’ve had to work hard also. I think that looking at teams like Tommy Baldwin, I was really happy to see him get a sponsor, first-off because I’ve known Tommy for a long time. I think he’s done it the right way. He races when he can afford to race and he’s here when he can. And there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s building a program and I think it was at Richmond two weeks ago and at the end of the race, Dave (Blaney) went past me and I radioed and asked, is that for position? And they said yeah, and I said he’s really fast. And I saw the rundown and he was like 13th or something and I thought it was great to see that. It’s good when you see that happen. That’s what this sport is about and that’s what we need.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT FURNITURE ROW RACING THAT MAKES IT SUCH AN ATTRACTIVE PLACE TO WORK? “I think there are a couple of things that have worked out. Probably six years ago, being in Denver, was a lot tougher. You had more trouble getting people to come out there (to work). But the sport went through a little bit of a downturn or contraction or whatever you want to call it and there are some really good people that were available just through teams having to shut down or having to move things around and adjust things. So that helped us out first and foremost. And we were able to get some really good people to compliment the guys that we already had out there. And then as we keep growing and getting better, well now it’s more or less when guys come out there and say hey we’re thinking about coming to work here and they come to see the city, they fall in love with the city. It’s a great place to live, first off. Myself, personally, I think I’ve said it a couple times now, I’m getting ready to have a house purchased out there and am going to call it my primary residence myself even. But it’s just a great place to live. The one thing that’s been consistent with some of the guys that have come out there is that it’s refreshing for them to kind of get away from the Charlotte area where all the teams are, and do something different and get to have a different chapter in their lives. There’s not a single one of them that’s come out there that hasn’t loved it.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO CHARLOTTE, YOU RACED YOUR WAY INTO THE ALL-STAR AND HOW DOES THAT FEEL? “Oh, it feels great. It was one of the first comments I made on the radio was hey, we’re in the All-Star race now, guys! And certainly that’s something that every driver in this garage thinks about. I know sometimes everybody says ah well, it is what it is and we’ll see how it all goes down or whatever. But for me, that’s a thrill to be in that race. I’d say the past three years I’ve been on my couch sitting and watching it in time for the start of the race and it’s been absolutely miserable. You watch your fellow competitors out there and there’s 22 or 23 of them on average I’d say, that the gloves come off and they get to race and not worry about things. So I’m excited about running that race.”
-source: team chevy