Regan Smith Named Driver of No. 78 Furniture Row Racing announced today that Regan Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, will drive the team's No. 78 Hendrick-powered Chevrolet Impala SS in 2009.
The Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team is scheduled to enter 12 Sprint Cup races in 2009, beginning with the Feb. 15th season opener -- the Daytona 500. (see complete schedule below)
"Furniture Row Racing is thrilled to obtain the driving services of Regan, who is one of the bright young talents in NASCAR," said team president and general manager Joe Garone. "His competitiveness and enthusiasm on the track speak for itself. In addition, he is a good fit for not only our sponsor but any partners looking for strong corporate representation in the Sprint Cup Series."
Smith, 25, competed in 34 Cup events for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008 and became the first Sprint Cup rookie to finish every race he started. The Cato, N.Y. native (25 miles west of Syracuse) started his Cup career in 2007 as a part-time driver for Ginn Racing. He joined DEI in the middle of 2007 when DEI and Ginn merged their racing operations.
"I look forward to continuing my career in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy," said Smith. "Though it's a single-car team that battles heavy odds against the mega multicar operations, the organization has always been highly respected in the garage for its use of some of the best equipment as well as an undying commitment to growing a winning team. That's all a driver can ask for and I can't wait to get to Daytona and compete in another superspeedway race."
In his last superspeedway competition -- the October event in Talladega, Ala. -- Smith appeared to have won the Cup race after passing Tony Stewart on the final lap. But shortly after Smith led the field to the checkered flag, NASCAR assessed a controversial penalty on Smith for passing Stewart below the yellow line. The win was awarded to Stewart while Smith was relegated to an 18th-place finish.
Team crew chief Jay Guy is also excited about Smith's signing.
"I look forward to continuing the growth of this Furniture Row team with Regan behind the wheel," said Guy. "After racing against him in the Nationwide Series and seeing how much raw talent he has, I find myself both excited and optimistic for the 2009 season."
Smith's NASCAR career includes extensive action in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, competing in more than 100 races since 2002. He has also competed on a limited basis in the Camping World Truck Series.
Smith was 4-years-old when he began his racing career in upstate New York, driving quarter-midget type cars. He joined the World Karting Association (WKA) at the age of 12 and won the WKA Grand National championship in 1996 and the WKA Manufacturer's Cup in 1997. He also claimed the Canadian Grand National (KART) championship in 1998.
He later competed in the Allison Legacy Series, winning the 1999 championship as well as Rookie of the Year honors. In 2000 and 2001 he drove in the USAR ProCup Series.
2009 Furniture Row Racing Sprint Cup Schedule
Feb. 15 Daytona, Fla. March 1 Las Vegas, Nev. April 18 Phoenix, Ariz. April 26 Talladega, Ala. May 31 Dover, Del. June 21 Sonoma, Calif. July 4 Daytona, Fla. Aug. 9 Watkins Glen, N.Y. Sept. 12 Richmond, Va. Sept. 27 Dover, Del. Nov. 1 Talladega, Ala. Nov. 15 Phoenix, Ariz.
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