KANSAS CITY, Kan. — official release — Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America photo — Time is running out for Regan Smith to catch his JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings. Just five races remain and a daunting but not insurmountable 26 points separate the two teammates.
Smith has already scored a career-high 24 tops 10s, but it still hasn’t been enough to earn the top spot. He has posted one win (Daytona), seven top fives.
Smith’s consistency this season is unmatched, but it will take a slip-up by Sunoco Rookie Elliott for Smith to close the points gap. Elliott has not only been impressive all season long, but near perfect. Elliott heads to Kansas having posted three wins (Texas, Darlington and Chicago), 14 top fives and 22 top 10s. If Elliott can continue to produce like he has the first 28 races of the season, then the championship is his to lose. Though, among the five remaining tracks, Elliott has yet to compete at Kansas and Homestead-Miami. He also must rebound from his first time around at Charlotte where he posted his worst finish of the season (37th).
Smith’s experience at these five final tracks just might be what gives him a shot at the series title. Smith dominated most of the race last season at Kansas leading 81 laps and finishing third. He has four top 10s in his last six starts at Charlotte, three top 10s in his last three starts at Texas, two top 10s in his last two starts at Phoenix and he won at Homestead in 2012.
Smith’s season-to-date Driver Rating is 99.2 and his Average Running Position is 8.8.