NASCAR Rookie of the Year Regan Smith may lose ride

The last driver standing in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition was Regan Smith, who drives the No. 01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet.

Smith was the only rookie in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after his rival Sam Hornish Jr. failed to make the race. Smith finished 34th at Homestead on Sunday and became the first rookie driver in NASCAR history not to suffer a DNF.

"You know, there were a lot of big names that I was racing against and you look at the stuff at the beginning of the year, not very many people had me chartered as one of 'em that was going to contend for the rookie championship," Smith said.

"So (I) definitely had a little bit of a chip on the shoulder about that and wanted to go out there and prove that there is still a good ol' stock car path and NASCAR path to get to this series."

Smith, who became the first driver to earn rookie honors for DEI, doesn't know if he will have a Sprint Cup Series ride in 2009. DEI and Ganassi Racing are merging and there may not be a seat for Smith once the merger is finished.

"This time of year, if you don't figure out what you're doing it's always difficult, but it's something at the end of the day you can put (the rookie award) on the shelf at the house and have that accomplishment," Smith said.

"I'm very confident in my abilities as a race car driver. This year's been a tough year and was a tough year for all the rookies. No excuses for that. It was a difficult year with the new car. I'm pretty confident I'll be driving a Cup car for somebody next year. I just don't know which one." Daytona Beach News Journal

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