I was fortunate to get the opportunity to talk to NASCAR driver Regan Smith and his mother Lee Smith before Darlington. Here are some of the questions I asked them.
B/R: How would you describe your 2012 season so far?
Regan Smith: Oh yeah. Certainly we’d like to have had a better start than what we’ve had so far this year, but we’re working hard to figure out what’s been going on, you know.
We started out the first four or five races and felt like we were going to be in good shape and at some point kind of hit a little wall, and a little bit of a lull, and things took a different turn, a different direction for us and we’ve been working hard to get out of this little rut that we’ve been in and thought Talladega was going to be the weekend to do that.
Unfortunately, you can’t help it when you have a motor blow and things like that happen.
B/R: Lee, What was your reaction to Regan getting his first career win last season at Darlington?
Lee Smith: I was actually on a rescue with animals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after the tornado. And I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t there. I just couldn’t believe it. And I knew he was going to do it when it was six laps to go, I knew he was going to do it, somehow.
B/R: Just that mother’s intuition, right?
LS: That’s correct. And I hadn’t seen any of the race. We didn’t have power where I was at. I got to see the last 10 laps basically.
B/R: Now when you watch Regan race, do you ever get nervous about his safety, especially after Eric McClure’s crash in the Nationwide Series with his injuries?
LS: I used to when he was younger; it really bothered me. But now it doesn’t, because he is in the cars that are so safe. Everything is safe, outside, inside in the car. So he is good. I worry about him (more) off the track than on.
B/R: Off the track? Oh boy, what is going on off the track?
RS: Lots of things going on off track. That’s actually, as we’re talking here, one of the things that we’re promoting and helping bring awareness to is CSX “Play it Safe" campaign. It’s part of what we have on the car this weekend.
I think 1,965 accidents in 2011 occurred or incidents on train tracks occurred. We’re trying to bring awareness to that. We want to bring that number down. Make sure that people realize that a train can come from any direction and cause somebody to have a bad day.
B/R: How did you react after getting out of the car at Talladega after the motor blew?
RS: Yeah, I think from a team standpoint, Furniture Row Racing, we always expect to go to the speedways and be up front. And have a shot at the win and certainly a good finish.
Yeah I was dejected when I got out of the car. I threw my helmet, I kicked the tires, I punched a wall... Nah, I didn’t do any of that stuff.
B/R: You did punch any glass like Amar'e Stoudemire, right?
RS: Yeah, absolutely. I was looking for cameras so I could go get mad at the camera guys. No, I wasn’t. You know, it's racing. You’re gonna have parts malfunction from time to time. We are fortunately, we get great engines from ECR, and those guys have done a really good job for us.
I think in two years that was the second engine malfunction we’ve had. We don’t know what happened. It wasn’t heat related, which was an issues for everybody there. But this particular circumstance wasn’t heat related.
We’ll get It back. It takes a little bit longer because ours cars have to go back to Colorado before the engines can come back to North Carolina. But we’ll get the engine back to them. I’m sure they’ll figure it out, and we’ll keep it from happening again.
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