SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Regan Smith is returning to Sprint Cup Series racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. He’s hopping behind the wheel of the No. 51 Hendrickcars.com Chevy fielded by Phoenix Racing for Sunday’s STP Gas Booster 500. It will mark his first Cup Series start since the Daytona 500, when he piloted the No. 51 car to a seventh-place finish. Smith hopes his reunion with Phoenix Racing leads to another prosperous run.
Smith has eight Cup Series starts at the half-mile, paperclip-shaped oval. He’s finished inside the top 20 three times and scored top-15s in two events. His best finish is 13th place, which he achieved in 2011.
Phoenix Racing is hanging strong inside the top-10 of the Sprint Cup owner point standings. The team is currently ninth, only 12 points outside of the top five.
Smith comments on racing the Hendrickcars.com Chevy this weekend at Martinsville Speedway: “My last race with Phoenix Racing was pretty awesome. We got a top-10 at Daytona, and they’ve been doing a great job since then. I’m really excited about working with them again and hopping into the Hendrickcars.com Chevy. I’m looking forward to another great race together.
“Martinsville is definitely a track that reminds me of my old short-track racing days. There’s lots of close racing, lots of beating and banging. You might even see a few spins along the way. Aero means almost nothing at Martinsville. A lot of this race is in the driver’s hands, but you’ve got to have a car that turns through the center of the corners. You’ve got to be able to get off the corners and back on the gas before you hit the long straightaways.
“Track position is huge there. The closer you get towards the end of the race, the more gambles you start seeing with two-tire or fuel-only stops. Tires are pretty important there, so you’re really taking a gamble when you sacrifice tires, but there have been a few teams that have made it work the last few races.
“I’ve had two of my best finishes at Martinsville in my last two starts. Hopefully that’s a trend that we can keep going this weekend.”
The green flag for the STP Gas Booster 400 will wave on Sunday, April 7 at 1:00. FOX, MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio will broadcast the event.