Smith Comes Home 34th in Homestead; Captures Rookie of the Year Award
Homestead, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2008) – Regan Smith finished 34th in Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but that was not the big news for the Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver. Smith’s year-long performance enabled him to capture the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title.
Smith is the first Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the 52-year history of the program to finish every race he started. He was running at the finish in all 34 races he competed in this season. Smith is also the first Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver to win the rookie of the year title.
In a show of consistency, Smith led or shed the lead in Raybestos Rookie standings in 26 of the 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season.
“I’ve got to thank (team owner) Teresa (Earnhardt),” Smith said. “She gave me an awesome opportunity this year and I appreciate it. There were times this year when we were running poorly and she was probably frustrated with us, but she stuck behind me. It means a lot to have an owner like that.
“I’m real excited to be Raybestos Rookie of the Year. It’s a big deal to be the first driver from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to get it. Now I’ve got something for Ms. Earnhardt to put in the trophy room at the shop. She gave me a great opportunity this year and I’m happy for her and Principal Financial Group and Chevrolet and all the guys on my team.”