No matter how much of a Denver Broncos fan he is, Regan Smith’s main focus is Sunday’s Auto Club 400, the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season.
With his Furniture Row Racing team based in the Mile High City where quarterbacks are making the headlines, Smith is looking to complete a few of his own passes at the two-mile oval located in Fontana, Calif.
“I had races I liked at California and also had races there that I just hated,” noted Smith. “But overall I like the big California track. You can move around and pass cars – it’s just a good place to race at.
“Another reason I like going to the big tracks is that we’re building better race cars and have the ECR horsepower (Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines). It will also be nice to go to a bigger track after competing at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway.”
After the first four races, Smith has had mixed results, but has managed to salvage respectable finishes even though he has been involved in two accidents (Daytona and Bristol) and ran out of fuel in Phoenix.
He is 20th in driver points with an average finish of 20.8. His average starting position has been 10.8.
“Our average starting position is more reflective about our potential,” explained Smith. “I felt we had top-10 and top-15 cars, but haven’t been able to basically finish a race without some major incident. Of the first four races, only Las Vegas has been a clean race for us and we posted a 15th-place finish.”
Smith has six career Cup starts at Auto Club Speedway. His best finish was 12th in the 2010 fall race. His best qualifying effort was fourth at last year’s race.
Regarding the recent Broncos-Manning-Tebow news machine, Smith said, “When you have Peyton Manning directing your team, you have one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and that’s exciting. But with Tim Tebow being traded, that’s the downside because I am a huge fan of Tebow as a player and as a human being. I will miss Tebowmania in Denver.”