Regan Smith’s tenure with Furniture Row Racing appears to be coming to an end – according to the driver.
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“As it stands right now, I don’t believe I’m going to be back with these guys next year,” Smith said before qualifying 22nd on Friday. Smith added he’s been told he can pursue other options. “I’ve been looking for a little while already now, but yes, I’ve been told I can look.”
Smith, who turns 29 on Sunday, joined Furniture Row in 2009. He ran a limited, 18-race season with the No. 78 team with Jay Guy as his crew chief. The next year, team owner Barney Visser expanded to a full-time schedule and gave Ryan Coniam a shot at the helm. The rookie crew chief lasted 12 races before Pete Rondeau was recruited to turn the program around. Less than a year later, Smith won his first career Cup race at Darlington Speedway. He finished the season with two top-fives, five top-10 finishes and a career-best 26th in the point standings.
This year, veteran crew chief Todd Berrier came on board before the Brickyard 400 in an attempt to improve the consistency on the team. Smith scored consecutive top-10 finishes starting the next week at Pocono and at his hometown track Watkins Glen.
“I think it’s something we can build on,” said Smith, who is 23rd in the point standings. “I think the tough part for me is the beginning of the year was a struggle. We had to make some changes to get better as a team and better as an organization. We made those changes, and it’s going in the right direction. … I want to see it through. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the case right now. So, somebody’s going to get a really good race car next year.”
That someone could be Kurt Busch or Brian Vickers. Both drivers are on the short list for Furniture Row – which recently re-signed its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. Busch met with Furniture Row principals back in early July.
But Smith remains optimistic.
“There’s not a lot out there right now,” Smith said. “But it’s a situation where there is some stuff going on and there will be stuff that turns up later going on, too. You just have to wait and see.
“I know I love racing. I intend on being in a race car next year. I know I haven’t peaked as a driver yet, so I feel good where I’m at in my career. We just have to find that right match going forward.”