DENVER (CBS4) – It’s been a while since Regan Smith won at Darlington, but it’s sinking in that Smith is among the elite group of NASCAR drivers who have won on the biggest stage.
“Since Darlington it’s a lot easier. People know who you are and take notice and ask for your autograph more frequently,” Smith said.
After the race Smith said Darlington was about the best place he could imagine to pull off his first win. But he almost left the track without the signature Darlington stripe that makes the 62-year-old track an icon.
“The sign back there says I got my stripe on 5/7/11, but they need to update that to saying that I got my stripe on lap 366 of 5/7/11 because it was literally the last lap of the race and coming off of Turn 2 I barely touched the wall, it was the first time all night I touched the wall. So that in its own right at Darlington is a big deal,” he said.
Smith and Furniture Row Racing made a name for themselves at the Southern 500, but it took a while for Smith to see what effect the win had on his home shop.
“Immediately following Darlington we went to Dover, it changed the atmosphere. I think that it just seemed like there was more confidence in everybody’s step … now we want to win more now that we know we are capable of it.”
Regardless the type of racing fans will see from Smith the rest of the season, he expects to see the black No. 78 car at the front of the pack.
“I thought the win was going to come this year, I thought it was going to come later on this year. So I would certainly say as we get later on in the year that I have big expectations to get another win. I feel that strong about this team right now, where we are and that speed that we have, that if we do everything right … I truly believe that we can win any given week.”