Input from Nadeau helps Smith score ride Mooresville, NC (June 10, 2004) - Regan Smith is beginning to look more like "Smiling Bob" with each passing day. Smiling Bob is the silent spokesman for Enzyte on their popular television commercials.
Input from Nadeau helps Smith score ride
Mooresville, NC (June 10, 2004) - Regan Smith is beginning to look more like "Smiling Bob" with each passing day. Smiling Bob is the silent spokesman for Enzyte on their popular television commercials. Team members jokingly call him by the character's name because he seems to have a constant smile on his face lately.
Smith has a good reason to be cheesing so much. Everything has been a whirlwind the past three weeks, but for a 20-year-old who is beginning to turn heads in the garage, that's a good thing. Your schedule quickly changes after you qualify a car on the front row the first time you've ever been in a team's race car.
At the beginning of the 2004 season, Smith was scheduled to run a partial Busch schedule with Mac Hill Motorsports. Unhappy with the part-time effort, Smith went looking for outside work. With Akins Motorsports' Kasey Kahne running both the NASCAR Busch and Nextel Cup Series events, schedule conflicts entered the picture, so Smith was given the nod to fill in for Kahne during certain Busch Series practice and qualifying sessions.
For his first run in Kahne's machine at Nazareth on May 22nd, Smith boldly put his foot down and ran a top five time in practice. He backed that up by claiming the outside pole.
With his instant success in stronger equipment, Smith's phone began to ring off the hook. After weighing all of his options, he decided to leave the sponsor-less Mac Hill team and take over the wheel of the fully-funded #50 Holigan Racing Busch Series entry.
"I had to look at where I could be in a car the most, get the most seat time and be in good equipment with good sponsors," Smith said for his choosing the Holigan team.
So what took so long for team owners to look beyond the circumstances of his past performances to see Smith's true talent? Fellow NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau says that's easily answered with one word. "Timing," Nadeau stated.
Nadeau, who briefly drove the Busch Series entry owned by Smith's parents back in the mid-90s, says the savvy youngster has shown him a lot of ability despite being somewhat limited. "Regan has always been impressive when he's in the car, especially considering [the equipment] he has been given in the past. He's young and talented; all he cares about is racing. He took full advantage of the opportunity at Nazareth a few weeks ago to show what he can do and he proved to everyone he has what it takes. Regan's been doing a phenomenal job and this new deal is great for Michael Holigan."
Compared to some other young racing talent, it seems it has taken awhile for Smith to get noticed. Things finally began to work in his favor after waiting patiently the past few seasons. After the performance at Nazareth, Nadeau's opinion was sought out and he was quick to offer it. "Michael Holigan (owner of Holigan Racing) called me and asked what I thought of 'this Regan Smith kid'. I told him 'that's your driver right there'. It's really that simple."
After Nazareth, Holigan brought Smith in to test at Lowe's Motor Speedway and he was the fastest driver there. Smith says he immediately knew it was the perfect fit.
"At Charlotte, the equipment was really good. After I had been in the Enzyte car a couple of times, it was obvious it's far better than what I'm used to. I really like all of the guys here at Holigan Racing and Team Enzyte. The crew chief (Todd Myers) is really sharp. I like Todd a lot. Once we get more familiar with each other, I believe everything will start to come together quickly and the results will show out on the track."
Once the new deal was announced, the team put Smith on a plane to Cincinnati to meet company executives at Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, the makers of Enzyte (and team sponsor). Then he drove down to Kentucky Speedway to participate in media day before heading back home to North Carolina.
Smith won't be based in the Tar Heel state much longer though, since he will soon be moving to Dallas to be close to the team's headquarters on a daily basis. Things are finally beginning to fall into place for the Cato, New York native. If you doubt it, just look at Smiling Bob and you'll get your answer.
Team Enzyte's next race is this weekend at Nashville under the lights in the Federated Auto Parts 300. They will follow that up with the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, located almost at the back door of the team sponsor (headquartered just up the road in Cincinnati, Ohio). Team Enzyte will run 11 of the final 20 NASCAR Busch Series races, which will primarily be on the circuit's speedways.