Regan Smith recently announced that he will drive for JR Motorsports full-time in 2013. He will be paired with Cole Whitt for the team in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.
Like I said in an earlier article, I believe Smith is a big time talent and deserving of a top tier Cup ride. With no rides being available, he took the best option left and that’s with JR Motorsports.
Smith will replace Danica Patrick in the ride as Patrick makes her move to the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2013. With a talent like Smith moving down the ranks to race in the Nationwide Series, I believe that series will be better than it’s ever been next year.
Normally, the Nationwide Series is a revolving door for youngsters being moved up too fast into the Cup Series. With top rides being harder to get due to sponsorship money and lack of cars, many drivers are having to stay in the series longer. Then, mix in the tons of Cup level talent coming down to race full-time due to the lack of Cup seats available and the series is getting highly competitive.
Due to the latter reason, Sam Hornish Jr. and Elliott Sadler will remain in the series full-time next season. Those two and Smith all three have the capability of winning and running well in the Cup Series. Running in the Nationwide Series only adds depth to that group. Throw in Austin and Ty Dillon, Whitt, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Ryan Truex, and Darrell Wallace Jr., and the series not only has great young talent, but veteran Cup level talent as well.
In some capacities, the Nationwide Series may have more cars with a better chance of winning than the Cup Series. NASCAR did a good think by limiting starting positions to 40 cars instead of 43 next season so that only add to the talent per starting spot.
Add that that the additional factor of the races being shorter and drivers basically having a sprint instead of a long duration race and the series’ excitement level will only grow.
Photo courtesy of USAtoday.com
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