There will be an intriguing new face on pit road when FOX Sports begins next season’s NASCAR coverage at Daytona.
FOX is expected to announce later today that Regan Smith, the veteran racer who worked as an analyst for FS1’s Race Hub, will become FOX’s newest pit reporter and join Jamie Little, Matt Yocum and Vince Welch on pit road. Chris Neville had been a pit reporter for FOX but will not return.
Smith made 13 starts in the Camping World Truck Series this season — as well as two starts in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car and one start for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series — which means he brings a current driver’s viewpoint to his analysis. That has worked well on Race Hub and also shined during an Xfinity Series broadcast last season at Iowa.
“My biggest goal in joining pit road is to be able to give viewers something they didn’t know before or to better help them understand something going on with the driver or the car,” Smith said in a statement. “Since I am still competing, I can put into perspective what a driver is feeling at a particular moment.”
The new pit reporter role for Smith will be for both Cup Series and Xfinity broadcasts on FOX.
Smith doesn’t have any current plans to compete next season, but indicated he hasn’t driven his last race. There seems to be a movement in NASCAR TV right now toward more current analysts — FOX has Jeff Gordon and Smith, while NBC just hired Dale Earnhardt Jr. to go along with Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Parker Kligerman — who, like Smith, has balanced insightful analysis with maintaining an active driving career.
Steve Craddock, FOX Sports senior vice president of NASCAR Production, said Smith’s stint as an analyst during the Iowa race last year opened executives’ eyes to his potential as a broadcaster.
“A fan and peer favorite, he has proven himself seamless in translating his years of driving experience to the viewers at home,” Craddock said in a statement.
Aside from Smith, the FOX broadcasts will have a familiar look. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Gordon return to the Cup booth, with Larry McReynolds as an additional analyst. Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip will broadcast the FOX portion of the Xfinity Series — with a rotation of Cup driver guest analysts — and Welch will call the Truck Series races alongside Phil Parsons and Waltrip.
Pit reporters for the Xfinity races will be Little, Yocum and Smith; Hermie Sadler, Kaitlyn Vincie and Alan Cavanna will call pit road in the Trucks.
In addition, FOX is expected to bring back its “Drivers Only” broadcast for an Xfinity race in 2018 after it was well-received at Pocono this season.