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If Regan Smith wins someone is going to look bad

By admin | October 12, 2012

By Richard Allen

As has been well documented, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will not race for at least two weeks after having suffered a concussion. In the meantime, recently released Regan Smith will handle the driving chores for the Hendrick Motorsports #88 Chevrolet until that car’s regular driver comes back.

If Smith should actually manage to win a race during his time in the top flight ride, someone is going to look bad according to certain naysayers. It just depends on the perspective of the viewer as to who that will be. And needless to say, HMS equipment is indeed capable of winning.

Smith was just released by the Furniture Row Racing team to make way for Kurt Busch. That Colorado based team apparently felt as though the 2004 NASCAR champion would give them the best opportunity to step up to the next level of competitiveness. Smith won a Sprint Cup race for the team in 2011 at Darlington.

Because of his controversial nature, Kurt Busch has a number of detractors. For that reason, there would be a more than a few people who would relish the opportunity to shame the Furniture Row team for bringing him in. A win by Smith would no doubt seem to those who dislike Busch that the team made a mistake by releasing a driver who had the talent to win races and does not create headaches.

But more than those for Busch, there are other detractors who would relish in a Smith victory. To these, this could be seen as an affirmation that the popular Eanrhardt has underachieved while driving for the sport’s top organization.

Anytime an individual or team is the most popular in any sport, there are always going to be those who root for that entity to be brought down. Junior is no different in that regard. NASCAR’s unquestioned most beloved driver also has a certain element who wish to see him fail for that very reason.

In the almost five years he has driven for HMS, Earnhardt has won only two races. One of those wins came this year at Michigan, which was also the site of his other HMS win back in 2008. At the same time, Junior’s teammates have compiled a good deal more wins than he has.

In fairness, Junior’s performance has improved greatly over the last two seasons, especially considering that he has made the Chase for the Championship in each of those campaigns. But that has not fully quieted some of his most ardent detractors.

Should Smith win in the 88 car, it will almost certainly cause some to point out with glee that the car is capable of winning with a new driver while its regular pilot has not been able to take the car to victory lane as often as many would have thought he would.

So, a win by Regan Smith would first and foremost be great for him. But at the same time, there are others who would relish in such a victory because it would provide an opportunity to make someone else look bad.

And don’t think a win by a new driver in a top car is impossible. Remember that Jamie McMurray accomplished that feat when he replaced Sterlin Marlin on this very track in 2002.

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “If Regan Smith wins someone is going to look bad”

  1. RacingFan Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I don’t think very many fans dislike Junior. They dislike his fans and the amount of coverage given him by the press even when he wasn’t doing well. They feel it makes NASCAR fans appear to value celebrity more than ability or success.
    Actually, I suspect that more than one writer had to hastily rewrite their story for this week that was ready to assure readers that Junior still had a good shot at the title. I have already seen one piece assuring us that Junior will contend next year.
    The brain is very complex. Concussions (and recovery from them) are still in the process of being understood by medicine. Dale Sr. had a vicious crash at Talledega in 96 and the next year at Darlington, Dale drove as if he were half asleep on the first lap, hitting the wall twice, and couldn’t find pit road. He said he was seeing 2 tracks. Doctors found no reason for this incident and it never happened again. There may have been no connection between the crash and the incident, but who really knows? Symptoms of concussion can first appear months after it occurs and then disappear. I remember that Dale said that he started drinking just water instead of all the other drinks after that incident. Maybe that helped him avoid a repetition.
    Kids heal up faster than adults do. I certainly hope Junior has no more severe collisions, because he is more vulnerable to severe injury in the future than he was before the concussion.

  2. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Rich, I feel if Regan Smith Wins, it wouldn’t be J Mac or Kenny Wallace, but, instead, Junior would be a Sterling Marlin Sized Lumber of a Man, and Ernie Irvan still has a hard time focusing Postconcussion. Kurt Busch will be well, Kurt, I can’t believe Dinger was allowed back in NASCAR, which would be a BIG Mistake for his career and I can still feel Steve Park being here today in NASCAR if he wasn’t hurt twice.

  3. Larry Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Hendrick is known for pretty good cars at Charlotte so it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if Regan won. Regan has ran good before and wasn’t he cheated out of a win at Talladega by “going” below the yellow line to pass? Can’t remember all the details but I do remember there was a big controversy on Nascar taking that win away.

  4. Offkilter Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Haha. How bout a story be written about how much pressure smith is under to perform and how much a win could help the 51 secure sponsonship or help smith himself find a fully funded ride.
    The “others” that would relish in the hypothetical win by smith mentioned in this article because it would make Jr look bad would be revealing their ignorance given what Jr has accomplished this year.
    I call bs on this article, Rich. Sorry, bro.

  5. Gregory D. Howe Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 11:22 am

    What about the other driver in this equation? The inimitable A. J. Almendinger! Controversial nature is the perfect representation of Cup Champion Busch, I think he’s going to try a little too hard in Charlotte, especially if he is in close proximity to his sibling. As for Regan Smith, more power to him, he’s got a sled underneath him now, the winner of a Southern 500 who defeated Carl Edwards can certainly find victory lane at Charlotte. I wonder what decision the two time Busch Champion Mr. Earnhardt would of made had he been leading the Chase?

  6. Chris Fiegler Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Do you think that Regan Smith will drive Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 Chevrolet for the Rest of the 2012 Season?

  7. Dave Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I think Dale Jr. is having a career that mirrors the son of another 7 time champ. That being Kyle Petty. Don’t get me wrong Dale Jr has more wins than Petty ever did, but Dale Jr also had a great plate race team in DEI (which had Childress support and Dale Sr’s input) and now Hendrick Motorsports. Kyle Petty wasn’t in a strong race team until 1992 when he drove the #42.

    I wish Dale Jr the best as he recovers, I’d just like to see Smith win the race so he could get a better ride next season and to also show everyone that Dale Jr is probably the most overrated driver in Nascar.

  8. Steve Says:
    October 13th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I take a different slant on this. A win by Smith would make those that passed on him for quality rides look foolish for not giving him a shot. I would love to see him win a race in the 88, not at Jr’s expense but at the expense of those that have written Smith off as a mediocre driver.

  9. Tyler West Says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    They won’t let Reagan run wel l& win and upstage that bum Jr. Jr is a waste of time!!

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