Sports

As Kurt Busch appeals NASCAR suspension, replacement Regan Smith gets ready for Daytona 500

  • Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of racing operations addresses the media about the suspension of driver Kurt Busch during a news conference at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.In a stunning move just two days before the season-opening Daytona 500, NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch indefinitely on Friday after a judge said the former champion almost surely strangled and beat an ex-girlfriend last fall and there was a "substantial likelihood" of more domestic violence from him in the future.  (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

    Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of racing operations addresses the media about the suspension of driver Kurt Busch during a news conference at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.In a stunning move just two days before the season-opening Daytona 500, NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch indefinitely on Friday after a judge said the former champion almost surely strangled and beat an ex-girlfriend last fall and there was a "substantial likelihood" of more domestic violence from him in the future. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)  (The Associated Press)

  • Regan Smith sits inside Kurt Busch's car before practice for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. Smith will fill in for Busch in the wake of Busch's suspension on Friday.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

    Regan Smith sits inside Kurt Busch's car before practice for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. Smith will fill in for Busch in the wake of Busch's suspension on Friday.(AP Photo/John Raoux)  (The Associated Press)

  • A piece of tape covers the name over the driver's window as a crew member works on Kurt Busch's car before practice for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. Driver Regan Smith will fill in for Busch in the wake of Busch's suspension on Friday. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

    A piece of tape covers the name over the driver's window as a crew member works on Kurt Busch's car before practice for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. Driver Regan Smith will fill in for Busch in the wake of Busch's suspension on Friday. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)  (The Associated Press)

Regan Smith has started what will be a busy day at Daytona International Speedway.

Just hours after being named the replacement for suspended Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch, Smith was getting fitted for the seat and trying to get up to speed with the team. He was one of the first drivers on track for the final practice before the Daytona 500.

Smith also is driving in the Xfinity season opener later in the day.

Busch was suspended indefinitely Friday after a judge said the 2004 Cup champion almost surely choked and beat a former girlfriend last fall. The suspension came two days before the Daytona 500, prompting Chevrolet to cut ties with Busch and leading Stewart-Haas to switch to Smith.

Busch has appealed, and the hearing begins Saturday at noon at NASCAR headquarters.

Regardless of the outcome, SHR plans to stick with Smith for the "Great American Race."