In the Pits- GINN
A call from his mentor after debut keeps Smith pumped
A phone call from Mark Martin following the Bristol race pumped new life into rookie driver Regan Smith, who finished 25th in his Nextel Cup debut at the half-mile oval.
Though the 23-year-old U.S. Army driver accomplished his main mission of finishing the race, he was upset with himself about an early pit road mistake that might have cost the team a better result. He had trouble shaking the incident until he got a call from his mentor.
“One thing about Mark—when he tells you something, he doesn’t do any sugarcoating,” said Smith. “And when he said he was excited for me about finishing the race at Bristol and called it a big accomplishment, that made me feel good. I told him about the pit road mistake, and he told me to shake it off and not to let it get me down. After that call, I had a little extra bounce in my step.”
Smith, who admits that he sometimes over-analyzes his performance after each race, felt a new surge of enthusiasm heading into the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
“Going into Bristol there were plenty of distractions, since it was my debut and I was driving the number one car in points,” offered Smith. “Now that we got that race out of the way and did a decent job, I feel more relaxed. I feel we have the potential of having a good performance. It’s exciting to get right back into the Army Chevy.
“I think of our soldiers in this situation,” added Smith. “You never quit or allow a setback to get in the way of completing the mission. That’s exactly how I feel going down the read.”
“I plan on calling Mark to go over a few things about the race,” said Smith. “Mark really has a knack for teaching. When he talks, you listen—there’s no-body better to get advice from.”
Drivers Mark Martin (l) and Regan Smith