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2009 Ride: No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy
2009 Primary Sponsors: Furniture Row, World Vision (1 race)
2009 Owner: Barney Visser
2009 Crew Chief: Jay Guy
Stats: 18 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 39th in Points.
Best Finish: 12th – Coke Zero 400 (Daytona).
Average Finish: 30.4.
High Point: Despite running part-time in 2009, Furniture Row Racing announced on August 19th that they will step back up to the full schedule in 2010 with Regan Smith as driver. It is a second chance of sorts for the 26-year-old and former Rookie of the Year, hoping he’ll showcase the best of his abilities in hopes of finding a better ride down the line.
Smith’s 50+ race streak without a DNF was also an impressive feat recognized by fans, drivers, and media alike.
Low Point: You couldn’t expect much from a part-time ride with a lower-tier team, but Smith failed to record his first career top 10 in 18 starts this season. His ability to take care of equipment and avoid on-track incidents allowed him to build a stunning 53-race streak of never having a DNF, but that ended with a crash in September at Richmond. It was the result of a flat tire, and was the first DNF of his three year career.
Despite having the best average finish of his career, Smith had career lows in laps led, average start, and DNQs. In 18 starts, he finished inside the top 25 just once (Daytona in July).
Summary: Regan Smith has shown an ability to take care of his equipment since his Cup debut in 2007. While it was a shame for his DNF streak come to an end, something must be said that despite having the worst average start of his career, he had the best average finish of his three years in the sport. Smith seems to be a talented young racer who is simply in need of a better ride, but with fewer and fewer quality seats opening up the Cato, New Yorker will have to do it the hard way and continue to try and do more with less.
2010 Outlook: Smith will get what could possibly be his last chance at a full-time Sprint Cup ride this season running the full schedule for Furniture Row Racing. The No. 78 team will go into the 2010 campaign without crew chief Jay Guy, who left the team in November, but still has high hopes for next season, according to the team’s general manager Joe Garone: “We are continuing to expand our resources to run a full schedule next year, and are on the right track towards giving our driver Regan Smith the best tools possible to race competitively on a weekly basis.”
2010 Prediction: 27 Starts, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 1 Top 10.
2008 Frontstretch.com Grade: B-.
2009 Grade: INC.
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I think Regan is one of the most underated drivers on the circuit, and would love to see him prosper in the long run. In an era where many “young guns” have the benefit of great equipment and powerhouse organizational support from day one, he’s breaking in the old school way. I really respect that.