Regan Smith's debut in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup entry was short-lived at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday night.
Smith performed admirably while substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is sidelined with a concussion stemming from a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday. Although Smith qualified 26th, he moved up into the top 10 by the third restart on Lap 42.
Smith climbed up to ninth when crew chief Steve Letarte radioed: "Great work, buddy. If they want to race you like that, that's just dumb. You're doing fine, you're doing great."
Although Smith was hoping for a track-bar adjustment on his next pit stop, smoke started spewing from the car on Lap 60. Smith completed just one more lap before bringing the car to pit road, where Letarte determined the engine was terminal.
"You did a great job, buddy, great job," Letarte said. "You proved that you could race with those guys."
Smith finished 38th. He will have a second chance next weekend at Kans...