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Friday, April 20, 2012

About Regan Smith and Furniture Row Racing

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

The Sprint Cup Series team that team that CSX Transportation has partnered with is unique in NASCAR. It’s the only Sprint Cup team headquartered west of the Mississippi River.

Furniture Row Racing, which is sponsored by the U.S. furniture store chain of the same name, calls Denver, Colorado, its home. There, you’ll find a state-of-the-art 35,000-square-foot shop. The team is headed by Joe Garone, former Director of NASCAR’s Research and Development facilities and Head of Officiating.

Furniture Row Companies is one of the largest family-owned specialty home furnishings and bedding retailers in the U.S. The company consists of five specialty furniture store brands including Oak Express, Sofa Mart, Bedroom Expressions, Denver Mattress Company, and Furniture Row Outlets. There are 250 outlets nationwide.

Regan Smith, 28, is one of NASCAR’s up-and-coming stars. The driver of the no. 78 Chevrolet Impala grew up in Cato, New York, and began his racing career at the age of four, when he began racing go-karts and microds. Over the next several years, he won numerous regional and state championships. In 1995, he and his family moved to Mooresville, North Carolina to allow Smith to advance his career. He joined the World Karting Association and continued to win, joining the factory-supported team owned by Enzo Chiovitti in 1998. That same year, he began competing in the Allison Legacy Series. In 2001, he began driving in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, winning four consecutive poles.

Smith began his NASCAR career racing in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2002. He made his debut at the age of 18 driving the no. 63 Ford F-150 for MB Motorsports at South Boston Speedway. He also made his Busch Series debut at Memphis Motorsports Park for Ed Whitaker, starting 16th.

Smith moved to the Busch Series in 2003 for a full-time ride with Bost Motorsports. He drove one race for Innovative Motorsports at Pikes Peak International Raceway. He also drove for Mac Hill Motorsports in the Ford 300. Smith continued to drive for Mac Hill in various Busch races in 2004. He next was hired to drive the no. 50 Enzyte Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Michael Holigan for three races and appeared in a few episodes of The Reality of Speed on Spike. He posted his best NASCAR finish to date at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Truck Series, 9th in the no. 06 John Boy and Billy Chevy for MRD Motorsports.

Smith began the 2005 season with Xpress Motorsports’ no. 19 team. He was then hired as the driver of the no. 65 Glynn Motorsports Dodge Ram. He ended the year in the Truck series with MRD for the closing races of the season.

Furniture Row Racing LogoAt the end of the 2005 season, Smith signed on with Team Rensi Motorsports to run a full Busch season for 2006, with his best finish of 10th coming at Charlotte Speedway. Smith ended the season with one top 10 as well as a number of other strong finishes, and finished 20th overall in points. Toward the end of the season Smith tested for Ginn Racing at Kentucky, and signed a deal with them to run the full Busch season, and also 16 Nextel Cup races that would come in a car shared with Mark Martin for the 2007 season.

Smith made his Nextel Cup debut at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing 25th in NASCAR's first Car of Tomorrow race. He made six starts in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. no. 01 car, sharing a ride with Mark Martin. He moved to the Craftsman Truck series to drive the no. 47 for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, starting at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Smith returned to the no. 01 for 2008 as its sole driver. He won the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year award, beating out Sam Hornish, Jr.. He became the first rookie driver in Sprint Cup history to finish every race entered in his rookie season.

After the 2008 season DEI shut down the no. 01 after merging with Chip Ganassi Racing, and Smith was released. In January 2009 he signed with Furniture Row Racing to drive the no. 78 for its part-time 2009 slate of races. He made 18 of 20 qualifying attempts with the team, and was hired to drive for the team full time in 2010. That year, Furniture Row Racing changed engine providers, becoming a user of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies (a joint venture of Smith’s former DEI team and Childress Racing) engines for the 2011 season, with Stewart-Haas Racing offering pit crews.

At the 2011 Daytona 500, Smith finished seventh after crashing in the final laps while battling for the lead. He was able to come back and finish 7th in the first Top Ten finish of his Cup series career and for Furniture Row Racing. On May 7, 2011 at the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway, Smith won his first Sprint Cup race, holding off Carl Edwards at the end.

For more information on Furniture Row Racing and Regan Smith, click HERE to access the team's website, www.furniturerowracing.com.

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