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March 2, 2014

RCR Crew Member Spotlight: Wayne Smith

Shock Specialist Leaves Australia to Live Out Childhood Dream

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Known as “Mate” to his Richard Childress Racing teammates on the No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS crew with driver Ryan Newman, Wayne Smith left the comforts of his home in Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia in 1998 for a career in NASCAR.

Growing up, Smith admired Australian racer Peter Brock, the nine-time winner of both the Bathurst 1000 endurance and Sandown 500 touring races. His love for racing turned into a career spanning 20 years including working for race teams in his home country as well as the United States. He joined RCR over two years ago and will celebrate one year with the Luke Lambert-led Sprint Cup Series team in May.

Smith lives in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife, Kate and their two dogs, Howie and Roscoe. When not at the race track, he enjoys spending time at the U.S. National Whitewater Center and cheering on the Carolina Panthers during football season.

What is the key to your job as a shock specialist at Las Vegas Motor Speedway? I think the biggest thing is that place is so rough. It’s important to me to build a couple of packages for the driver to run through. With the new rules, it is important to work through springs, bump stops and shocks. We need to find a happy medium, whatever that may be to determine the best package for Ryan Newman.

What goals do you have for this season? My goals are to win races and contend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

What is it like to work with the No. 31 team’s new driver, Ryan Newman? He is cool and he is laid back. We’ve done testing and we’ve completed two races. I think it’s going to be a great year and I think we have a great group of guys. Ryan fits in well with our team so I am looking forward to a good year. It’s a very exciting time for this No. 31 team.

What is your most memorable racing moment: Winning both Kentucky Nationwide races with Austin Dillon in 2012. It was my first NASCAR win and to do it with Austin was really cool. It was his first big win and it’s so very hard to do. You can win races and you can get lucky. To flat out have the fastest car and dominate was so awesome. That’s what you strive for and you want your driver to be in tune with the car and have a great car. That happened in 2012.

If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? I’ve got to go with the Australian band, Men at Work and the song, “Down Under!”

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