Regan Smith admits that the pressure is on heading to the Daytona 500 as the Furniture Row Racing man seeks to secure a place in the field for the opening event of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
The reigning Raybestos Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year doesn't have an entry into the race on owner points, so will need to either secure a slot in the event on Pole Day or hope to make it into the field through the Gatorade qualifying race.
That means the pressure will be firmly on Smith ahead of his debut in the #78 Chevrolet but he said he was focused on getting into the 500 in whichever way possible.
"I don't care how we get into the big show, just so we get in," he said. "There's a lot pressure to make the biggest race of the year. But the good news is that the Furniture Row Chevy Impala SS is powered by Hendrick engines and the team has a strong history at superspeedways. When I wake up at night, I think of our positives and then go back to sleep.
"The Daytona 500 qualifying system can be confusing, but we know that if we can be in the top three among the go-or-go-home teams on Pole Day, we'll be locked in. I think we have a good shot at that -- it would be a huge load off our shoulders. But if we don't get in on Pole Day, we still have the (Gatorade) race."