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Regan Smith finishes quiet 16th in Daytona 500 after replacing Kurt Busch

57th Annual Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Regan Smith, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, sits in his car on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Smith has been named as the replacement driver for Kurt Busch for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Busch was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after a no-contact order was issued against him for alleged abuse against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

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For the second time in a little more than six months, Regan Smith stepped in for a Stewart-Haas Racing driver.

Called upon to replace the indefinitely suspended Kurt Busch in the No. 41 Chevrolet, Smith turned in a 16th-place finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“Started off really tight with the race car and never got it turning,” said Smith, a former Sprint Cup veteran who currently races full-time in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports. “I don’t know - kind of frustrating. I actually anticipated a much better day and nothing much more to show for it. Those guys did a nice job all weekend, but we just plowed through the corners.”

Smith replaced Tony Stewart in his No. 14 Chevrolet last summer at Watkins Glen the day after Stewart’s tragic sprint car accident in New York.

Smith got one practice session in Busch’s car before running the Xfinity season opener Saturday. Smith flipped over as part of the first of two major wrecks in that 300-mile race.

The other major wreck with less than 10 laps to go had Kyle Busch sustain severe leg and foot injuries. Matt Crafton subsequently replaced Kyle in the No. 18 Toyota for the 500, and finished 18th.

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