One race at time for Smith

After a win in the season-opening race at Daytona, Regan Smith carries a six-point standings advantage over Trevor Bayne into Saturday’s Blue Jeans Go Green presented by Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives.

Smith, however, isn’t taking anything for granted.

“We left Daytona with the points lead, but it’s a long season,” Smith said. “Something I’ve learned is to not pay attention to the points. I’m sure I’ll hear about it one way or another, but I’m not going to really look at it until we get to race 20 or 25.”

With the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Phoenix, he’s looking to build upon last week’s success and improve upon his fourth-place finish in last fall’s race at the one-mile track, his best showing in six starts.

“Phoenix was a challenge for us last spring,” Smith said. “We came back and did our homework, changed some things and left there with a top five last fall.”

In last year’s spring event, the Cato, N.Y., driver finished a respectable 11th. In his four other NNS Phoenix starts, he has an eighth and three finishes lower than 24th. He has an 82.2 driver rating at the track. His best result in nine NSCS starts was a 20th, coming in the second race of 2012. In two NCWTS starts, he’s never finished higher than 30th.

If there is one team with a decided advantage over all others, it has to be Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR’s drivers have won the last three NNS races at Phoenix with Kyle Busch sweeping the events last season and Joey Logano winning in 2012. In the past 12 races, JGR drivers have won six. This weekend, Busch, Elliott Sadler and Matt Kenseth will all be piloting JGR-owned Toyotas.