Kevin Harvick's rear tire changer sidelined by testicular cancer
Daniel Smith, the rear tire changer on Kevin Harvick's #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, missed the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After the series took last weekend off, Smith is expected to miss at least two more races -- the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 1 and the Brickyard 400, the regular-season finale, Sept. 8 -- as a result of treatment for testicular cancer.
After being diagnosed, Smith underwent surgery the day of the Bristol race to make sure the cancer hadn't spread. It had spread to lymph nodes in his abdomen, and doctors discovered a concerning spot on one of his longs. Smith is expected to miss four to six weeks, as of the Bristol race, but the pit-crew member hopes to return in time for the 10-race playoffs, beginning Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 2019 Night Race at Bristol was the second-straight installment of the event Smith has missed because of testicular cancer. He also missed last year's race because of a cancer-related surgery. He, then, missed the remainder of the 2018 season, returning in times to begin the 2019 season at Daytona International Speedway. This year's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race was the first race missed by Smith this season.