Regan Smith and Furniture Row Racing have a renewed spirit due to recent performances in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
After enduring a four-race slump, Smith and the Denver-based team feel the ship has been righted as the circuit heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday's running of the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.
Smith's finishes of 14th (Darlington) and 17th (Charlotte) might appear to be so-so, but in reality the 15.5 average is indeed miles better than his 28.5 average in the previous four races.
"Of course we want better finishes than 14th and 17th," said Smith. "But right now it's about showing improvement and that's what we're doing."
Though Smith is looking for better results, had he secured a 15.5-average finish in the first 12 races of the season he would have accrued enough points (342) to be positioned in 13th place in the driver point standings. Instead, he has a 22.00-average finish and sits 23rd in points after gaining three spots following Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.
"That goes to show you that consistency always wins out in the end," said Smith. "We let some races slip away before we hit the slump. A 15.5-average finish is by no means out of the question for our Furniture Row Racing team. Looking back, had we not had some bad breaks when we were running well we would have easily achieved that average."
The 28-year-old Smith has also qualified better, claiming a pair of top-10 starting positions of 9th and 10th in the past two races.
"Keeping up the momentum is what we're looking for this weekend in our Furniture Row/CSX Play it Safe Chevrolet," stated Smith.
But to keep up the momentum, Smith knows that patience and respect for Dover's all-concrete Monster Mile are vital for having any kind of success.
"Dover is another animal and you better be ready with the right setup there or you'll be lapped quickly -- that's a given," explained Smith. "It’s a fun place to race at when it's going well but on the other hand it can be awfully miserable if you're off the pace. It doesn't take long at Dover to find yourself a few laps down."
Smith has started in eight Cup races at Dover and his best finish was 17th, which came in the track's second race last season.
Smith's No. 78 Chevrolet will again carry the "I Brake for Trains" bumper sticker, promoting CSX Transportation Play it Safe campaign to urge pedestrians and motorists to exercise caution around railroad tracks.