The sight of a short track has taken on more of an appeal for Regan Smith, who will drive his No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet in Saturday night's Capital City 400 Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.
"After struggling on the mile-and-a-half tracks the past two weekends at Texas (23rd) and Kansas (24th), I am looking forward to going to a short track, especially at Richmond," said Smith. "We need to get our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet rolling in the right direction."
Smith enters the ninth race of the season in a three-way tie for 20th, but is listed as 22nd in the driver point standings due to NASCAR's tiebreaker criteria of highest finishes. Before the Easter break Smith was sitting in 18th place.
"We’re grinding right now and need to find a smooth rhythm," stated Smith. "One thing about Richmond is that you can’t fall off even a little because there’s not much difference between first and last place. Our first objective is to qualify well and start the race up front."
Speaking about qualifying at Richmond, Smith started last year's spring race from the outside pole, his best qualifying effort of his career.
"I'm still gunning for that first pole," noted Smith, whose best starting position of the current season was third at Phoenix. "We'll go after it (the pole) this weekend. You want to be up front and in that good clean air when the race starts. We're seeing fewer cautions, which results in a higher risk of being lapped. So being up front at the start of the race will be critical in Richmond."
Smith's best finishes in seven starts at Richmond were at the two races last year with results of 17th and 18th respectively.
"We need to make something happen and build positive momentum," said Smith.
After Richmond, the Sprint Cup circuit heads to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway where Smith and Furniture Row Racing have had strong performances in the past. Following Talladega it's on to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway where Smith claimed his first NASCAR victory last year, winning the famed Southern 500.
"I guess on paper the next three races should be good for us," said Smith. "But that doesn't really mean anything. You have to go out there and get the job done on the track. We're definitely capable of producing strong results."