Race Weekend Central

Regan Smith Driver Diary: Meeting a True Hero and Surviving Tally

We did not race this past weekend and I have to tell you, it was nice to have some rare time off where I can just relax for a couple of days. Even for holidays, my parents and family are down here so there is no traveling to worry about. We’re on the road so much throughout the year that every race weekend is almost like a vacation because we’re always going some place different. So when we’re off, I look forward to doing things around here, such as chilling with friends at the lake.

I recently got the chance to meet quite an amazing athlete this past month. Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles, who has only one leg and just went 36-0 en route to a national championship in his weight class, made a visit to the shop to speak to us. It was an honor to meet him and hopefully we will see him at the track soon.

As most of you know, I’m a big hockey fan but the NHL playoffs aren’t quite the same for me since my Carolina Hurricanes didn’t make it. I really don’t have a team that I’m pulling for so I’ve tried to make predictions about who will do well and I’m not having much luck. I think there are some tight series where if teams can survive them, they will be strong. You can never rule out Detroit as they always seem to find another gear when the playoffs start. I think the Flyers have a strong team, but once again, their goalie situation is hurting them. None of their three goalies are really a solid starter, not for the playoffs anyway. We’ll see what happens, but so far, some of the analysts who I thought were going to be way off in their predictions are proving me wrong.

Speaking of hockey, Megan, a few buddies and I went to a Charlotte Checkers game a few nights ago. They are the farm team of the Hurricanes, which just moved their AHL affiliate to Charlotte after being located in Albany for years. I like to go to a few games when I can, especially since I can see the up and coming players for the Hurricanes. It was really a fun time. You can follow me on Twitter (@Regan_Smith) to see a picture from our night out.

Talladega was an eventful race, both on and off the track. For starters, it seems like every year we go to Talladega, we can count on some sort of severe weather and this time was no different. When you’re camping and just hanging out at the track, there just aren’t very many places you can go if a tornado strikes, so I was more worried about the fans than anyone. Fortunately, the worst of the storms went south of the track this time.

Despite what many consider a sour past at the facility, Regan Smith misses Talladega racing before the two-car tandem.

The race itself was yet another one for us where we didn’t get the finish we deserved. There were a few near misses for our Furniture Row Racing Team, but the one that probably got the most attention was Ryan Newman’s “non-wreck” in the closing laps. I saw it happening and I didn’t want to check up with [Paul] Menard pushing me so I was trying to keep both of our cars safe at that point. I saw a hole and went for it. Fortunately, Denny Hamlin had already checked up and a spot opened where I could get through. It was a situation where I was just as worried about what is going on behind me as I am about what’s going on in front. Despite the fact that we made it through unscathed, that was the point where the No. 27 car and I got unhooked after we worked so well all day together. The No. 31 and I hooked up after that but we could never really get any momentum going.

The race at Talladega actually played out a little different than the one at Daytona in February. At Daytona we did a lot more two wide racing. At Talladega, the front pack was often three or four-wide, and for some reason, it just seemed like it made it more difficult to catch up to them. That’s exactly the problem Burton and I had at the end of that event.

I really don’t have much of a different feeling about this type of racing than I did at Daytona. The one thing that I embraced more this past race than I did at the 500 was the ability to talk to other drivers on the radio, which I believe makes for a lot safer racing. I only wish we can make the process work better because I still don’t like the concept of switching channels back and forth. For example, I found that I would have to sit on a channel for a minute to make sure that I have the right one. Sometimes, you may click on a channel and have the wrong guy, which concerns me. What I still don’t like about this style of racing is how you have to depend on somebody else, especially at the end. I liked it better when it was every man for himself and you were working hard for your own team. Now it’s more about who you are friends with and who you are working with.

I really think we have some good opportunities to make up some ground in the upcoming weeks as Richmond and Darlington are two of my favorite tracks. I haven’t always had the results at Richmond that I would’ve liked, but it’s hands down one of everybody’s top seven or so tracks because of how competitive it is. It’s a short track that drives like an intermediate track, which is really unique. Darlington is definitely one of my top five favorite race tracks, which I’ve loved since the first time I raced there. I’m usually not one who runs the high line very well, but that track, it is a different situation when it comes to running the upper groove. It seems like when we go there for whatever reason, the high line runs differently. It’s just such a neat race track and it is one of those speedways where the race is like a constant chess match. You really have to position yourself well and know where everybody is and pay attention to what they’re doing.

Thanks again for all of your support. I am looking forward to giving all of you something to cheer about in the next month so stay tuned!

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