html

ThatsRacin.com


Regan Smith will fill in for Earnhardt Jr.

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

Regan Smith may have lost a ride but not for long.

Last weekend was Smith's last with the Furniture Row Racing team but he unexpectedly picked up a ride in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as a fill-in for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt will miss at least the next two races while he recovers from lingering effects from two concussions over the past six weeks.

Hendrick Motorsports tapped Smith to drive Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet while Earnhardt remains on the sidelines.

“It is going to be the best car I have sat in, there is no denying that,” Smith said. “I just want to go out and make the most of it – run all 500 miles and see where we are at when it is all said and done.

“Dale's safety and getting healthy is the most important thing right now through all of this. This race car has got to be on the race track and I am glad and honored to be the guy to do it.”

Smith's association with Earnhardt isn't likely to end anytime soon.

Smith is expected to drive a full Nationwide Series schedule in 2013 with JR Motorsports, several sources said Thursday. Rick Hendrick, who has partial ownership in JRM, said Thursday the organization was talking to Smith about a Nationwide ride.

“If Mr. H said it, usually what Mr. H says is gospel,” Smith said.