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NASCAR

Regan Smith’s First Start With Hendrick Ends in a dark cloud

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Regan Smith’s hopes and dreams were shattered on Saturday night at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Smith was given the opportunity of a lifetime by being able to drive for legendary car owner, Rick Hendrick and his Hendrick Motorsports team. Dale Earnhardt Jr., the teams regular driver, announced that he wouldn’t be able to race due to his second concussion within a few weeks.

Earnhardt Jr.’s first concussion came during a test session at the Kansas Speedway, but that didn’t stop him from being able to race.

“I got a lot of support from my team. I’m excited about their opportunities the next couple weeks with Regan, and just looking forward to getting this cleared up and getting back in the car as soon as I can so I can get back to work with my team and getting back to competing on Sundays,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a press conference announcing his diagnosis with Dr. Jerry Petty.

But, Smith was fairly respectable in his run with the No. 88 team, especially on such short notice.

Smith took his car from mid-pack to the top ten until his engine expired on lap 61. It was a disappointing end to such an optimistic day.

“I think the important part was is that we had a really fast race car. We had a good first adjustment there, went just a little too far with it and got a little too free. Needed one more stop and I think we would have had it dialed in and then just chased the weather from that point on. It’s disappointing,” Regan Smith said in a Team Chevy press release.

Smith’s engine failure was the second during the weekend for Hendrick. Ryan Newman’s engine expired unexpectedly during practice on Friday.

The end result was a 38th place finish for the Cato, NY native who remains 23rd in points.

Smith will have at least one more shot driving for Hendrick Motorsports. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 once again at Kansas where he hopes to gain momentum heading into the remaining part of the season.

Besides that, it was mentioned that Hendrick and Smith are in talks to run a full Nationwide Series schedule next season.