The Case For Regan Smith As A Stewart Stand-In

by Jim on August 10, 2013 · 5 comments

Truth is stranger than fiction. Think about it; there are many who believe it was an illegal maneuver by Tony Stewart that cost Regan Smith his first career win at Talladega in the Fall of 2008. Five short years later, the three time champion is parked by a broken leg, and the driver whose name keeps coming up as a possible fill in starting next week is none other than Regan Smith.

Oh, the irony. Put this historical footnote aside, and it has the look Regan Smithof being a great opportunity for Smith, who has no fulltime Cup ride, and whose regular gig these days is driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Nationwide Series. For his part, Junior says he’d be cool with it.

Currently, the 29-year old is running second in the Nationwide standings with two wins, five top fives and 14 top tens. He’s run six Cup races this year, and his last regular gig in the NSCS was at Furniture Row in the ride now occupied by Kurt Busch.

It would be a move that makes sense. While the Cato, New York native’s career has been rather quiet- aside from a 2010 victory at Darlington- he’s just the kind of driver a team needs on an interim basis. Throughout his career Smith has had the reputation of being a driver who will get your car back to the garage in one piece. In other words, he will make you some money without costing a bunch of money in return.

While one wouldn’t necessarily fancy Regan Smith as a colorful character, he won’t embarrass your sponsors with boorish behavior either. Regardless of who is on the hood- be it Bass Pro Shops or Mobil One, Smith’s blue collar persona is a good fit.

For Smith, it’s a golden opportunity to showcase what he can do in some of the best equipment in the business. Certainly, he has acquitted himself well in Earnhardt’s ‘7’ ride, and that after a career in single car operations, and organizations that were perceived to be struggling or underfunded. If Smith has a good run in the ‘14,’ it makes the case someone should pick him up for a 2014 Cup ride.

Now you can make the argument that Kurt Busch’s present performance at Furniture Row in the same equipment that Smith used to run is evidence that he is no great shakes as a driver. Others would suggest that Busch’s superior numbers are indicative of two things that have nothing to do with Regan: First, that Busch is a cut above all but a handful of drivers (after all, Kurt is a former champion), and second, that FRR has made its own improvements, and perhaps those improvements would have resulted in Smith putting up the best numbers of his Sprint Cup career.

Whichever the case may be, the match of Regan Smith with Stewart- Haas looks like a good one. You get a good guy with a solid record for performance, eager to prove he can run with the big dogs.  

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1 Josie August 11, 2013 at 4:45 am

Smith is at the top of my list! I read Austin Dillion has talked to SHR…which in my opinion would NOT be a good fit. While Austin is having a good run in Nationwide…Cup is a whole different ball of wax and I don’t think SHR needs to to “training” a rookie at this point. Running down the list of available Chevy drivers…I don’t come up with many candidates…but I do have a whacky dream scenario…I think SHR should have scooped up Kurt Busch for 2014…had that been…and if Kurt was willing…he would be great to take the 14…and then start fresh in 2014 next season in his own SHR ride. (I know..I know..Busch is on the edge of getting in The Chase this season). I think Kurt is an incredible driver, he seems to have found a balance in his personal life that is helping is him control his rants, and I think he and Stewart are one of a kind. While Stewart has been my go to guy since his Indy days..I’ve always had a soft spot for Kurt. I guess I just go for the wild and crazy uncontrollable drivers…but they are just so incredibly can a girl resist.

2 Terry August 11, 2013 at 8:01 am

I agree it would be a good opportunity for Regan to showcase himself. But I hope that he and his supporters take a good look at the whole picture, and whether the Nationwide championship should be pursued in earnest. I also believe that Stewart was give one at Talladega those years ago. It sure looked like he pushed Regan down there; Regan won that race. And that was a win taken away from Regan and DEI. Some would argue that Kurt is reaping some of the benefits that FRW put together in the time Regan was with them. He stepped into a perfect situation.

3 Twostepn August 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

No paticular comments about the race, usually I’m just a “lurker” and enjoy your articles. Just want to say glad you came back and got Bump-Drafts up and running again. Thanks!!

4 Robert Eastman August 12, 2013 at 8:33 am

Regan Smith’s performance as Dale Jr’s sub in HMS #88 last year also shows how really good he is when given great equipment!

5 Jim August 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

@Twostepn- Thanks! Feel free to jump in anytime, but lurkers are welcome too.
@Robert- Amen.

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