KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Though Regan Smith re-upped for a season of Saturdays, he still wants to be a Sunday driver.
In the midst of a championship battle against teammate Chase Elliott, the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet recently agreed to another one-year deal with the Nationwide Series powerhouse owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Rick Hendrick.
Smith’s longer-term goal is to return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, where he last raced full-time in 2012 before losing his ride in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet to Kurt Busch. That’s one reason why Smith signed a one-year deal with JR Motorsports.
“I definitely want to get back to Cup,” said Smith, who trails Elliott by 26 points with five races left in the Nationwide Series schedule. “I don’t think I’ve ever denied that or said that I don’t. That’s the goal. I want to prove that I belong there and get to race on Sunday’s and get to run the longer races again.”
Though there are several seats in the Cup series that have yet to be filled for next year, Smith wanted to get his 2015 plans squared away before the 11th hour.
“Naturally, there are some openings—on paper, it would appear—on that (Sprint Cup) side,” said Smith, who notched his only Cup victory in the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington. “I think a lot of thing would still have to play out on the Cup side, and a lot of things look like they’re still taking place over there, and some quality race teams that are still trying to figure out what they’re going to be doing.
“But at the time, I just felt like it was time to go ahead and start trying to solidify some things for next year and know, generally speaking, where I’m going to be.”