NASCAR: Why Is SHR Playing It Close To The Vest?


Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday SHR named Regan Smith as the driver of the No. 41 car for the upcoming race this weekend in Atlanta. Smith also drove the No. 41 this past weekend in Daytona where he finished in 16th place. The announcement of Smith driving in Atlanta doesn’t really come as a surprise however the rest of the announcement does seem strange. While Smith will be driving for SHR this week they did not commit to him or anyone for that matter after this weekend.

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In fact, SHR was very open about the fact that they have not named an interim driver for the Las Vegas race in two weeks or anything beyond that. So, why is it that SHR is only announcing interim drivers on a weekly basis?

Is Regan Smith not the driver that SHR wants in the No. 41?

Is there someone else out there that SHR wants in the No. 41 car besides Regan Smith? I mean that would be one reason that the team would not go out of their way to name Smith as the replacement driver on a full-time basis. This would be the same mentality as an NFL coach giving their start QB a short rope by not naming him the starter. Instead, said coach would give the ‘we will go with the options that gives us the best chance to win’ line. Is SHR keeping Smith on a short rope with the thought of making a change if things begin to go south? Is Gene Haas reaching out to other drivers that he would prefer to have in the car and he just hasn’t found anyone willing to take the gig?

There is nothing wrong with putting your team in the best position to win. It’s just a shame if they are being non-committal to Smith simply because they are looking to bring in someone who they feel is better.

Is SHR quietly banking on Kurt Busch returning soon?

When it comes to Kurt Busch the common perception around NASCAR is that he is going to miss quite some time. Maybe that’s not the case and SHR knows something that the rest f us don’t know.

After Busch lost his second appeal his lawyer was very vocal in saying that he would exhaust every legal action possible to get Busch back behind the wheel. It could be possible that SHR is predicting that there might be an injunction issued that allows Busch back into NASCAR sooner rather than later. If this is the case it would make sense for them to be non-committal with Smith. Given all that has went down SHR is not in a position to come out and say that they believe Busch will be back soon or that they support Busch and will deal with this on a weekly basis.

Given what Busch has been accused of and the fact that NASCAR and Chevy have suspended him, that simply would not be a good luck for SHR. However, if Haas and company are privy to something along those lines it would make sense for them to continue handling Smith and the interim driver situation on a weekly basis.

Is this just how SHR does business?

Maybe there simply isn’t anything more to this than the eye can already see. Maybe this is simply the way that SHR does business and they are happy with Smith and naming a driver each week.

If this is simply how SHR does business there are certainly some perks to it. I don’t think Smith or any other driver in the No. 41 seat would become complacent while filling in but not committing to anyone long-term certainly guarantees that will not happen. In the mind of Smith he could be viewing each week with SHR as an audition for the next week. This kind of pressure could be a way lighting a fire under Smith and getting the best out of him every time that he takes the track.

Of course, you could also argue that there is already enough stress when it comes to running the Sprint Cup Series. If this is business as usual and a motivational tool for Smith it could easily backfire. If that were to happen and there isn’t another driver waiting in the wings SHR could have inadvertently made a tough situation even more difficult.

Why do you think that SHR has not names Smith or another driver as the permanent replacement for Busch? Be sure to share your thoughts by commenting below or reaching out to us via social media.

Christopher Olmstead is the Editor of on the FanSided Network. Follow us on Twitter @Beyond_The_Flag and “Like” us on Facebook.