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Six Pack: Smith has thrilling encounters since relocating

May 11, 2012, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Regan Smith wore a Rockies jersey to throw out the first pitch last year, but he hasn't become a fan of all Colorado teams. (Getty Images)

Regan Smith has had some thrilling encounters since relocating to Colorado

Regan Smith, who won his first and so far only Sprint Cup race last year at Darlington Raceway, answers this week's six questions.

1. As a self-described hockey fan, you must be enjoying the NHL playoffs. How did you become such a big hockey fan?

Smith: I guess just living in upstate New York as a kid, it was always on. The [New York] Rangers and the [Buffalo] Sabres, we were kind of between the two markets, so we could get both where we lived. Then at the time when I moved to North Carolina, the Hurricanes were moved to North Carolina from Hartford a year later. I never played, but I've always enjoyed watching as a fan. I get into it pretty deeply as far as knowing what plays they're running and what type of forechecking they're doing and that sort of thing.

"I finally answered the phone, and [Megan] says, 'I don't care how many guns you get; I don't care how much money you spend. Just get back to this house right now. There is a bear on our back porch!'"

--REGAN SMITH

2. Since you relocated to the Denver area last year and drive for Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, are you now a Hurricanes or Avalanche fan?

Smith: Oh, Hurricanes all the way. We went to the Canes vs. Avalanche game last year at the Avalanche, and I definitely had my Canes' jersey on and was all decked out. There probably were a few people who weren't too happy with me by the end of that game. And unfortunately, it was made even worse by the fact that the Avalanche scored with one second left in overtime to win the game. There was a little bit of heckling after that one. I kind of took a rash of insults as I left the building.

3. How do you like living in Evergreen, Colo., the small community located in the mountains just outside Denver where you moved last June?

Smith: It's a good change of pace from North Carolina. We moved to North Carolina when I was 12, and I hadn't really seen anything different. I had lived right there in the Mooresville [N.C.] area, so it's kind of nice to see that there's something else out there besides just our nice, little racing community we have in Mooresville.

With the exception of some black-ice conditions, I love the weather out there. You can have snow one day, and it could be 70 degrees the next day. It's really a lot milder than people make it out to be, even where I'm at -- and I'm way up there at 9,000 feet elevation.

4. Speaking of the black ice, you had a nasty encounter with the stuff recently, didn't you? [Smith was coming down the mountain from his home when the SUV he was driving hit a patch of black ice and caused him to run off the road.]

Smith: It was with [fellow Sprint Cup driver and friend Paul] Menard, my wife, Megan, and another good friend of ours, and yes, it was scary and not something you'd want to go through on a daily basis. It was a bad situation that could have been much, much worse -- and really turned out to not be all that bad when all was said and done.

One of our neighbors had sent out a text to all the members of our little community on the top of this mountain. We all know each other, and she sent a mass text out saying such-and-such road on the way down is just a sheet of black ice. It just looks wet, but it's black ice, so be careful.

We got that text, literally, right after we started walking back to the road [after the accident]. It was one of those things where then we said, "Wow. We really would have loved to have gotten that text five minutes earlier."

5. Is it true you also had an encounter with a bear?

Smith: It was within the first week of us living there. I had a friend who drove a vehicle out for me. He's a big gun guy and I never [had] owned one, just because I never had a reason to. I'm not a hunter. I don't have the patience to go sit out in a tree stand and hunt. I'd get too aggravated. So I grabbed him and said, "I need you to help me go pick out some guns." We're down there picking out some guns because I had heard about all the wildlife up there, and I wanted some for protection. But we were waiting there for them to register me, and Megan calls me like four or five times. I keep clicking her to voicemail and then I think, "You know, she doesn't usually call this many times in a row. Something might be up."

So I finally answered the phone, and she says, "I don't care how many guns you get; I don't care how much money you spend. Just get back to this house right now. There is a bear on our back porch!" She was doing laundry or something and just looked out the side, and there he was, just staring into the house like he was meant to be there. She was pretty freaked out by that, but since then we've seen all kinds of wildlife. We've seen foxes on almost a daily basis, a bobcat, elk, deer ... There are mountain lions up there, too. I haven't seen one yet and I don't want to -- because they say if you see them, that they've already been watching you for some period of time. They say if you see them, odds are they're already stalking you. So I hope I don't ever see a mountain lion.

6. Whatever happened to the bear? Did you come home and blow him away with one of your new guns?

Smith: My friend wanted to. But you have to have all the proper licenses to do that, so I highly urged him not to so I wouldn't have to go bail him out of jail. You can only hunt them a couple months out of the year. [The bear] finally just moseyed off.

I've since discovered he only comes around on trash day. I think he's got that kind of figured out. There are some neighbors of mine who have lived up there forever and never [have] seen one. I've seen 'em six times in one summer of living there.