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 |