After missing the Auto Club 500 in Fontana last weekend, Regan Smith admits he is anxious to return to action as the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Las Vegas for the third round of the season.
With the Furniture Row Racing team running a limited schedule this season due to the global economic slowdown, Smith was forced to watch the second round of the season in California but will now be back with the field in Vegas for the next race on his calendar.
The reigning rookie of the year will face a challenge however as he will need to qualify for the event on speed and he admitted that he wasn't getting too carried away going into the weekend.
"It was hard to watch," he said, referring to the Fontana race. "When it's Sunday you want to be in a race car, competing against your peers. It was even more difficult to watch because of how well we ran in the Daytona 500. I wanted to be there mixing it up with everyone else.
"I had a good time in Daytona and felt really comfortable in the new surroundings. Hopefully we can put it all together again in Las Vegas and come away with another solid team effort. We want to make the most out of every race we enter.
"When you're a go-or-go-homer, you don't look too far into the future. The first priority is to get the Furniture Row Chevy Impala SS into this Sunday's race. Though the pressure to qualify is nerve wracking, it sure beats being a couch potato and watching the race on television."
Led by general manager Joe Garone and crew chief Jay Guy, the Furniture Row team heads into the Vegas race looking to build on the 21st place finish secured in the 500 a fortnight ago and Garone said he couldn't wait to see his car back on track.
"Everyone on the team felt good about how it all came together at Daytona," he said. "We had some issues early, but we worked through them and received good input from Regan. So far, it's been a short learning curve and that's why we're all excited to get back on track."