Smith to replace Almirola at Charlotte

Pierre Vaugeois
Mai 19, 2017

Smith, who will drive Almirola's vehicle in the Open race in the hope of making into the All-Star event, is the 2008 Cup Series Rookie of the Year with 211 starts.

Regan Smith is substituting again. A press conference has been called for Friday in Charlotte to discuss details and whether the assignment will extend beyond this weekend.

Earnhardt chases his second All-Star crown Saturday and his first Coca-Cola 600 victory on May 28 in his final season as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver. A Cup Series victor in 2012, Smith captured Darlington with Furniture Row Racing and has plenty of experience at the Cup level. He's made 211 Cup starts with a best finish of first, winning the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. NASCAR experience extends from his rookie season at Dale Earnhardt, full-time stints at FRR and in the XFINITY Series with JR Motorsports.

Smith will race in Almirola's stead in Saturday night's Monster Energy Open, an exhibition qualifier for the All-Star race on Sunday.

He now drives on the Camping World Truck Series for Ricky Benton Racing.

If Almirola misses a regular-season race he would need to receive a waiver from NASCAR to remain eligible for the postseason.

Earnhardt has only won the All-Star Race once, and that was 17 years ago, and he's never won a points race in Charlotte. His rehab and recovery time is still not known at this time, but he'll undergo more testing Thursday to help determine that.

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