You don't hear many stories like this in any sport, but this past weekend in Phoenix Wood Brothers Racing crew member Andretti Smith missed his first race since October 1990.
The veteran pit crew member spent his first 24 years in the sport going over the wall with the Wood Brothers, doing everything from carrying to changing tires and finished up gassing his last eight years. When the Wood Brothers aligned with Team Penske two years ago, Smith started handing in the second gas can from behind the wall.
"I did everything over the wall," Smith said. "I carried from 1990 to '92, jacked from '92-94, changed from '95-05, and then gassed from '06-'14."
It was the behind the wall help that sidelined Smith following the Las Vegas race earlier this season.
"I tore my biceps at the top of the shoulder and 50 percent at the elbow. It happened handing in the second can during the Vegas race."
After 26 straight years of going to the track, you would think it would be very difficult for Smith during Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway to not be there, so ... we asked him.
"Honestly, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be," Smith said. "I went to buy my little girl some T-ball pants and went to her practice. I did catch the race and made sure to watch how we did."
Smith hopes to be back at the track as early as Martinsville, depending on how his recovery goes.
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