Start ‘N’ Park Blog is taking a look back at the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver by driver. This recap will take a look at the driver’s stats, the season’s highlights, the season’s lowlights, what a quick look at next year. This installment takes a look back at Regan Smith who finished in the 24th place in the final standings.
Preseason Pick: 24th
Top 5s: 1
Top 10s: 4
What Was Said Prior To The Season:
“Regan Smith and this team stole one in Darlington last year for their first win. They had qualifying down most of the year, it just never translated to good runs in the race. I see them doing the same in 2012, just without the win. Running between 15th and 25th won’t be a far stretch. In the end their best runs won’t cancel out their worst runs throughout the year. I was thinking this team would do better than expected in 2012 after they trumped how they would be the de facto fourth Richard Childress Racing car after the shutdown of the #33. But with most things this year, don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. That #33 car will be around for the first five races of 2012 and possibly more depending on sponsorship and where they are in points. So that puts Furniture Row back where they were, the fifth and odd car out at RCR for support. With that said, they can’t do any worse than Jeff Burton last year….or can they?”
What Happened In 2012:
Smith fought the good fight in 2012, but in the end it was not enough to keep him in the Spring Cup Series. He collected a couple of ninth place finishes in August to show some hope for the season, but the team was already looking to replace him with Kurt Busch. By the time he collected his season best finish of fifth at Talladega, he was out of work. He was able to get a career opportunity of running for Hendrick Motorsports as a replacement for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Charlotte and Kansas, scoring a seventh at Kansas. From there he finished the season with Phoenix Racing, riding around to a 24th and 30th place finishes.
On To 2013:
Running for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. helped open the door for him to run for Jr’s JR Motorsports in 2013 in the Nationwide Series. He won in his first race with them at Homestead, so expectations will be high for Smith. He should be able to contend every weekend, versus running 20th to 30th in the Sprint Cup Series side.