Regan Smith will not return to JR Motorsports in 2016


KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Regan Smith confirmed after Saturday’s Xfinity race that he won’t return to JR Motorsports next season.

“I know I’m not going to be back to JR Motorsports next year for sure,’’ Smith told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider after finishing fifth in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. “I want to go out strong at the end. Certainly it’s been a good three years so we want to have a good last three races.’’

A JR Motorsports spokesperson confirmed that the team notified Smith this week that a change to the No. 7 car would be made for next season. The spokesman confirmed that the team offered Smith the opportunity to drive select races next season in the team’s No. 88 car if it works with his schedule.

Smith is in his third season with the team, which Dale Earnhardt Jr. co-owns. Smith finished third in the points in 2013 and was runner-up last year. He’s third in the standings with three races to go. Smith has won five races since joining the organization, including a victory at Dover two weeks ago.

JR Motorsports announced Oct. 2 that Elliott Sadler will join the team next year with One Main Financial. The team also plans to have its all-star car, the No. 88 car that is driven in select races by Cup drivers.

The team has not stated who will drive its other full-time car.

The 32-year-old Smith has run 176 Sprint Cup races with a win in the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Saturday marked his 199th career Xfinity start. He has six career wins in that series.