Defy The Odds: Regan Smith Drove With Broken Wrist In 2010

June 15, 2012; Brooklyn, MI, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith (78) during practice for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

NASCAR drivers are intent on enduring whatever pain is necessary to keep racing. Sometimes that means defying the odds to stay in the car, like Regan Smith experienced when he broke his wrist in 2010.

When it comes to injuries or illness, race car drivers live by a code: Man up and do what it takes to finish, no matter what the challenges.

That's the mentality in NASCAR, and it's a thought process shared by drivers at every level. From weekend warriors to a guy running a demolition derby to a Sprint Cup Series driver, pain won't slow down a racer.

"In order for me to get out of a race car, I would probably have to be incapacitated," Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith said recently. "I would probably crash on the racetrack because of whatever was ailing me before I would get out of my car."

But that doesn't make it easy. In Smith's case, a notable moment when he had to defy the odds in order to keep racing came in 2010 when he broke his left wrist at Sonoma.

Smith was involved in a crash halfway through the road-course race, and he fractured the scaphoid bone – the wrist bone at the base of his thumb. The break required surgery, but Smith couldn't have the procedure done until the off week three weeks later if he wanted to keep racing.

His doctors came up with a special wrist brace for the following week's race at New Hampshire, but Smith didn't like it because he didn't have a good feel for the steering wheel.

And unfortunately for Smith, he's a "left-hand puller" when it comes to driving the car. He uses his left hand to steer, he said, while his right hand is more of a guide.

"I knew I had broke it, but I really didn't think it was that bad," he said. "It was worse than I anticipated it being. There were some (team) guys that were none too pleased with me that I didn't let them know more about the pain throughout the course of the week."

Smith ultimately gutted out 300 miles at New Hampshire race with the broken wrist, but not without a lot of pain. He also raced at Daytona (where he crashed) and at Chicago before having the surgery which allowed his fracture to begin healing.

"I've had some pretty good broken bones and injuries and stuff, and that one ranked right up there," he said. "I've literally never had pain like that after a race.

"But everyone in the garage has had moments where you defied the odds or been able to do something you shouldn't have been able to do."

Take Denny Hamlin's extreme back spasms at Daytona, for example. Hamlin had no backup driver lined up to replace him, because quitting early simply wasn't an option.

"He would probably have to be at the point where his legs weren't working because his back was so messed up and he couldn't push the gas pedal down," Smith said. "I think that's how every driver in this garage is. That's how I am. You're never going to get out of your car."

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