Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Monday, February 23rd that Regan Smith will be the interim driver for the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Smith drove the car in the Daytona 500 last weekend, finishing 16th. This will mark the third time that he has served as a sub at Stewart-Haas Racing as he subbed for Tony Stewart last year at Watkins Glen. Smith is running the full XFINITY Series season this year for the third straight year with JR Motorsports.
Kurt Busch was scheduled to drive the No. 41 Chevrolet full-time this year, but was suspended indefinitely for violating section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty of the 2015 NASCAR Rulebook. The decision was made to suspend Busch “following the release of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware’s decision to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him”.
At Daytona, Smith started off riding in the second half of the field staying out of trouble, but began to work his way to the front throughout the second half. In the end, he’d cross the finish line in the 16th position.
“Started off really tight with the race car and never got it turning,” Smith commented. “I don’t know, kind of frustrating. I actually anticipated a much better day and nothing much more to show for it. Those guys did a nice job all weekend but we just plowed through the corners.”
This will mark Smith’s seventh Sprint Cup Series start at Atlanta, with his last start coming in 2012 when he finished 14th.
SHR added in their announcement that “an interim driver for the No. 41 team at next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and subsequent races has not been determined”.