Ford Performance NASCAR: Regan Smith Q&A Session

by Official Release On Fri, May. 19, 2017

Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes
All-Star Race Advance – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Friday, May 19, 2017

Regan Smith will be filling in this weekend as driver of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion for the injured Aric Alimrola. Smith spoke to the media this afternoon about the opportunity.

REGAN SMITH – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – WHEN DID YOU GET THE CALL? “Roughly Wednesday morning, right around there. It was something like that. I didn’t know much until then. Obviously, I knew that he was hurt, but didn’t know to what extreme or anything like that. When they called and said, ‘Hey, can you do this weekend?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. I’d be honored to and I’d love to,’ and that was pretty much it. Just getting things sped up and trying to get things ready as quick as we could. That was the next process. I don’t know if it’s good or bad doing these type of things, but I feel like I’ve got quite a bit of experience at it at this point. They’re all different and they’re all unique in their own way, but they kind of flow the same way.”

WHAT IS YOUR HOPE GOING FORWARD? “I’m focused on this weekend right now and we’re going to do the best we can for their partners and for their team this weekend and see how things progress going forward, but I’m gonna focus on this weekend and do a good job for them this weekend.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DRIVING THE NUMBER 43? “Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. When I look back to the end of last season and not knowing what I was doing this year. You never know. I’m still pretty young. I’m only 33, so I was kind of thinking I would get an opportunity in a Cup car at some point in some capacity. I didn’t really know what or how and when this all kind of shook down I kind of thought about it the other night and I’m like, ‘That’s pretty cool. That’s the King’s car you’re gonna hop into.’ That’s a special car and there’s a lot of history behind that car. I guess because me and Aric are friends I’ve got a little bit more of an emotional investment into this and wanting to do well for him and his team.”

WHAT IS THE GOAL FOR THIS WEEKEND? ARE YOU USING IT AS A TEST SESSION FOR THE 600? “I think everybody is using this as a test session for next week to a certain extent, so I would say that’s no different than what this team is doing. With that said, if we’ve got the opportunity to get in the All-Star Race that’s why we’re all out there racing is to get into the All-Star Race, so that would be the goal, but learn what we can for them for them going forward next weekend and do whatever we can to make that weekend easier on them and make them have a bigger notebook and a bigger database for that weekend.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR OTHER SUBSTITUTE EXPERIENCES THAT WILL HELP THIS TIME? “I’ve learned I’ve got a hell of a polo shirt collection at this point. I don’t know if there are any crew members in the garage that have been with more teams than I have. I guess the first time you do it, and I mentioned earlier that they’re all different and all unique in their own way. I think the first fill-in I had to do I think it was for Junior in the 88 car, which was ironically also at Charlotte, and that one was a little more last minute. That was the day of, nobody knew he was hurt, so I didn’t even have it on my radar. I was coming here to hop in a different race car and was mentally prepared for that. When you look at this particular situation there was a little bit of time. You could go to the shop. You can sit in the car. You can adjust things. It’s not quite as on the fly as that was. You mentally kind of prepare for what the weekend is gonna look like and you have an opportunity to sit down and talk. Me and Drew sat down and talked, and we’ve been around each other quite a bit this year anyways with the TV stuff that we do, so we’re familiar with each other and we’ve known each other from the past. I’d have to look, but I’m pretty sure we’ve never worked anywhere together through the years, but it makes it a little bit easier when you do have that time. Those other ones I’ve done in the past, where it was literally the day of, you just hoped that you fit and those can be a little bit trickier. I had one where I hopped in for a guy at a race track. It was years ago at Dover. I think it was Stemme who got sick and couldn’t finish the race and I hopped in during the race. Those are very challenging. At least we’ve had the opportunity to build and work this week for a day or so and kind of prepare for the weekend.”

HOW INSTRUMENTAL WAS FORD IN MAKING THIS HAPPEN? “I can’t speak to that because I honestly don’t know. The team is who called me and the team was basically the ones I had talked to and communicated with through all of this. I’m appreciative of Ford letting me do this. Obviously, I don’t think it hurts that I’m in a Ford in the Truck Series right now. It’s got to help out a little bit, but I can’t speak to that because I honestly don’t know.”

BRIAN MOFFITT SAID YOUR CONSISTENCY WAS A KEY IN BRINGING YOU IN. HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT THE APPROACH OF MAYBE BEING MORE CONSERVATIVE OR WILL YOU LET IT RIP? “You’ve got to see where you’re at and this is one of those races where if you’re in 10th place with five laps to go, you’re not gonna let it rip because there’s really not much to gain. But if you’re in second place and two-tenths off the leader, then you weigh out the risk versus reward and I think that’s the consistency he’s probably talking about. I’m gonna weigh out that risk versus reward and do what’s right for the team. If we’ve got the opportunity to get them in the All-Star Race, you take those chances. If you don’t feel like you’re in position that you need to be in at a given time, you’ve got to make sure that you learn as much as you can because as we mentioned earlier this is a tune-up for the 600 next week for these race teams. These race teams are all out here trying to learn stuff for next weekend.”

HOW FAR BACK DO YOU AND ARIC GO? “I think the first time Aric and I were ever around each other was maybe the DEI days, roughly. I think he had left Gibbs and whenever Ginn and DEI merged, don’t quote me on the years, but I would say around ’07 or ’08. We got to know each other really well through all that. We worked with a lot of the same people and I don’t remember the DEI years like which direction, but it was around ’07 or ’08. I’ve leaned on Aric in a lot of different situations. Him and Janice are the same age as my wife and myself. We’ve both got two kids and we both have two kids with very similar age gaps apart, and last year when we were expecting our second they were two people we leaned on and talked to a lot as to what to expect and what it would look like.”

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