From this point on, it will be a case of two seasons for Regan Smith.
The first season is the current Xfinity Series slate. With 11 races left, Smith is ranked fourth in the standings, 51 points behind series leader Chris Buescher, heading into Saturday’s Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville.
Smith is not giving up in his bid to win his first Xfinity championship.
“I think we’re still in it, we’re racing like we’re still in it and the mindset is to go out and do everything we can to lead laps and win races,” Smith said Friday at Road America. “If you do that, you close up on points quicker than you can even imagine.
“Our mission has to be to stay ahead of (Buescher) and when the opportunities present, take advantage of them.”
But there’s another season that also is on Smith’s mind: whether he remains with JR Motorsports for 2016 or returns to the Sprint Cup Series.
“We’re working hard every day to figure out 2016,” Smith said. “I think I’ve been clear for the better part of 2 ½ years that I want to get back to Sprint Cup and do that at some point.
“I’m fortunate to be in fast race cars at JR Motorsports right now and have an amazing opportunity here and definitely don’t take that for granted.
“At the same time, I want to give myself the opportunity to get back to the other series and as soon as all that stuff plays out and I have answers, then I’ll give them as soon as I can.”
NASCAR has issued three fines to Cup Series crew chiefs for unsecured lug nuts following Saturday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Paul Wolfe, crew chief on Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford, Alan Gustafson, crew chief on Chase Elliott‘s No. 9 Chevrolet and Michael Bugarewicz, crew chief on Clint Bowyer‘s No. 14 Ford, have each been fined $10,000 for having one unsecured lug nut.
Those fines are in addition to the points penalties against Tyler Reddick‘s Xfinity Series team (10 driver and owner points) for failing pre-qualifying inspection four times.
NASCAR also indefinitely suspended Bayley Currey for violating its substance abuse policy.
Front Row Motorsports is changing things up on its No. 34 Ford for the Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway next week (6 p.m. Sept 1 on NBCSN).
After three years of using the same retro Love’s Travel Stops paint scheme, the team will show up in Darlington next weekend with Dockside Logistics as Michael McDowell‘s primary sponsor. With that sponsor comes a tribute to long-time NASCAR owner and former driver Jimmy Means.
McDowell’s car will be made to look like the No. 52 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac Means owned and drove part-time from 1989-91 in the Cup Series.
One of Means’ cars, which was driven by Mike Wallace, is located in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car graveyard.
More: Retro Rundown of Southern 500 paint schemes
Front Row Motorsports was originally known as Means-Jenkins Motorsports, based on a partnership between Means and current FRM team owner Bob Jenkins. Their relationship began with Jenkins sponsoring Means at Bristol with his local Taco Bell franchise, which led Jenkins to a partial ownership of Means’ race team. The team was active for one year before Jenkins separated and founded Front Row Motorsports.
“Throwback weekend at Darlington is one of my favorites of the whole year,” McDowell said in a press release. “It’s fun to recreate some of the most well-known paint schemes throughout the history of our sport. Our owner, Bob Jenkins, has always admired Jimmy Means, and the Alka-Seltzer car is definitely a favorite of his. I’m really excited that we can honor their friendship with our No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford.”
Popular cartoon character Scooby Doo will be featured as the theme on Corey LaJoie’s No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Mustang for the First Data 500 on Oct. 27 at Martinsville Speedway.
Long-time team sponsor Keen Parts/CorvetteParts.net will transform the team’s usual paint scheme to what it’s calling “the Mystery Machine” for the Martinsville race, which will be four days before Halloween.
“Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon growing up, so when Tom and TJ (team co-sponsors Tom and TJ Keen) asked what I wanted to do for Martinsville, there was no doubt that I wanted to be driving the Mystery Machine,” LaJoie said in a media release. “They always have really cool themes behind their Halloween-weekend schemes and I’m excited to be part of this one and thankful for all that they do for our team.”
For last year’s fall race at Martinsville the team and sponsor combined for a purple and black Peanuts scheme that featured Snoopy and quickly became a much-talked about fan favorite.
“We are super excited to present this paint scheme to Corey to run at Martinsville,” said lTJ Keen. “This cartoon was his favorite as a kid and I bet it still is today. We cannot thank the team enough for letting us do these schemes and we hope you fans will enjoy it.”
On Monday, Richard Childress submitted his resignation letter as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association and a handful of the organization’s committees, NBC Sports has confirmed.
The resignation came two days after the owner of Richard Childress Racing helped give the command to start engines for the Cup Series night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which was co-sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and the NRA.
“At this time, it is necessary for me to fully focus on my businesses,” Childress said in his letter. “I owe that to my employees, our partners, my family, and myself. Since proudly agreeing to serve on the NRA Board, I have supported the organization and its important mission to preserve and protect our Constitutional rights. But when, as now, I am no longer able to be fully engaged in any commitment I have made, it becomes time for me to step down. I have reached that point in my ability to continue to serve the NRA. As such, I must resign.”
According to the Washington Post, Childress is the sixth member of the Board of Directors to resign since May. The Board of Directors totals more than 70 members.
Childress was elected as the NRA’s second vice president in 2015 and had also served as the first vice president until he stepped down in April of this year.
Childress will retain his NRA membership moving forward.