Jimmie Johnson will miss all on-track activities at Richmond International Raceway on Friday following the birth of his second child.
Regan Smith will practice and qualify the No. 48 Chevrolet in Johnson's absence. Smith is a driver in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, an affiliate of Hendrick Motorsports, and had tested the 48 car at Richmond last month.
Johnson will return to start Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 but, because he will miss qualifying, he'll be forced to start at the rear of the field. The series points leader by 28 over second-place Clint Bowyer has already clinched a spot in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Johnson's wife Chandra delivered the couple's second child at 2:02 a.m. Friday morning in a Charlotte, N.C., hospital. Their daughter weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.
Both mother and daughter are doing fine, according to a Hendrick news release.