Is it a good move for Regan Smith to sign with JR Motorsports?

By Joseph Wolkin
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

JR Motorsports recently announced the signing of Regan Smith to their NASCAR Nationwide Series organization.

Smith has been in the sport since 2002 and has been in NASCAR‘s elite series, the Sprint Cup Series, since 2007. When he was released from Furniture Row Racing to make room for 2004 Cup Series champion, Kurt Busch, it was obvious that Smith would be shocked himself if he could get a top tier ride in the top series in the sport. But, Smith took the release as a way to re-surge his career such as other veteran drivers have been doing.

Here are some of the reasons why it’s a good move for Regan Smith to join JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series for the 2013 season:

  • Smith has only one win in NASCAR as he out-dueled Carl Edwards at Darlington in the 2011 Southern 500. Moving back to the Nationwide Series could possibly bring back his confidence and show top teams that he can win when given the opportunity.
  • His career has been beyond inconsistent, it’s time for him to have a steady ride, win a few races, contend for a championship, and work his way up to the top like he deserves.
  • He’s known throughout the sport now so he will be a fan-favorite and probably a championship favorite as well when speedweeks open in late January/early February.
  • In his second to last Nationwide Series race in 2007, he recorded a pole award at Kentucky, a feat he has yet to accomplish in the Sprint Cup Series which shows he was rushed up through the ranks such as some of his peers have.
  • He’s young. He has time to improve. He’s a driver with plenty of experience and should be a force in the Nationwide Series next year and should be given a top opportunity in 2014 in the Cup Series if he wins races with JR Motorsports.

Now, here are some of the reasons why it’s a bad move for Regan Smith to join JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series for the 2013 season:

  • Smith has been in the Cup Series since 2007. Last year was his first true year with a mildly competitive team. With his win, he proved to the entire sport that he is capable of staying in the series if his team can back him up.
  • In the two races he drove for Hendrick Motorsports, Smith ran upfront in both races and tallied up a seventh place finish at Kansas in a race he could have won which shows that he deserves a ride in the Cup Series as he out-ran his teammates, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson who are title contenders.
  • The man is experienced. In his three full-time seasons in the Cup Series, he hasn’t missed a single race and he’s only had 12 DNF’s, half of which were caused by mechanical issues.
  • He and Furniture Row Racing have grown with each other over the years. He has helped them go from a part-time team to a full-time team which can now compete for top ten finishes once in a while. Even though they are inconsistent, he still showed that he is capable of racing in the Cup Series in not the best of equipment, just imagine what would happen if he was given that Hendrick opportunity for the remaining races in the 2012 season.

Overall, it is probably a good thing for Smith to join the JR Motorsports banner in 2013. He likely wouldn’t have been with a good team if he opted to stay in the Cup Series. The guy isn’t going to ruin his career like David Ragan is doing by going to an up-start team like Front Row Motorsports who has had their struggles but continues to grow.

Joseph Wolkin can followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.

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