Junior Nation is in shock and awe after learning news that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the next two races in the Chase due to suffering a second concussion.
Junior, driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, suffered his first concussion in a tire test at Kansas Speedway; his second concussion came after he was involved in a multicar incident, last week, at Talladega Superspeedway.
Junior will miss this weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as the following race at Kansas. With him out of action, Regan Smith has been called upon to drive in his absence.
For those who play fantasy, this could change owners viewpoint of Smith for the next two weeks.
Driving for Hendrick assures a driver is receiving top notch equipment. With that said, Smith qualified 26th for Saturday’s night Bank of America 500. He could certainly benefit fantasy players, and is worthy of a start – but that’s only cause of where he qualified.
Smith and Crew Chief, Steve Letarte, are just getting acclimated to one another; do not expect the performance to be there. Let’s face it, it’s as simple as this: Smith and Junior have different styles of driving.
This reminds me of when Kyle Busch was suspended for last year’s Texas Motor Speedway Chase race. These are two different situations, but Michael McDowell subbed for Busch that afternoon, and he struggled to a 33rd place finish after qualifying 17th. Sometimes it’s the driver’s skill, sometimes it’s different driving styles. Either way, the car has to be set up, accordingly.
This could be a golden opportunity for Smith to put himself more on display. Since he will be ride-less after Kansas, this will be the first, and probably only time he will garner a chance to drive for a top tier team such as Hendrick. Essentially, they are known as the New York Yankees of NASCAR, so he has to perform like one.
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