Regan Smith has suddenly vaulted from a driver seeking a full-time ride for 2012, to driving the most well-known car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Smith, 29, originally planned to drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet that has been driven by Kurt Busch this season. Instead, he'll be driving the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is sidelined for the next two races after suffering his second concussion in the last six weeks.
Earnhardt Jr. was caught up in a 25-car pileup at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday. He was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday, leading to the driver change in the car. Earnhardt Jr. said he suffered an earlier concussion in a crash during an Aug. 29 tire test at Kansas, but that it went undiagnosed until Wednesday.
Smith has been a regular in the Cup series off and on since making his debut in 2007. He ran seven races that season, ran full-time for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008, then part-time for Furniture Row the f...