CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NASCAR PR – Getty Images Photo – JR Motorsport’s (JRM) drivers Regan Smith and Chase Elliott are the 1-2 punch combo that has much of the NASCAR Nationwide Series reeling. Smith and Elliott have held the series standings lead the whole season, swapping the points lead twice through 11 races. Call it what you will, but these two have Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s organization on the path to its first series title.
However, Elliott felt the sting of a poor finish (37th) which dropped him from first to third in the standings. He is now 28-points off the points lead held by his teammate (Smith).
“I can tell you one thing, we have some work to do before heading to Dover,” said Elliott. “Anything short of winning is just not good enough. This team can get the job done, so we’ll prepare to rebound next weekend.”
While Elliott rebounds, Smith continues to be unrelenting with his consistency. He posted a series leading 11th top-10 finish of the season last weekend at Charlotte.
The JRM duo heads to Dover with quite different agendas. Smith is looking to improve on his recent performances (average finish of 20.1) at Dover and hold on to the points lead; while Elliott is making a series track debut and attempting to make up the points he lost last weekend.
That may mean the time to capitalize is now for Elliott Sadler, currently second in the standings, five points off the lead. Of the top three drivers in points, Sadler has the best pre-race Driver Rating (90.0) and Average Running Position (12.8) at Dover.
Also Trevor Bayne, fourth in the standings 35 points behind Smith, will take a crack at closing the gap in the points this weekend. In five starts, Bayne has an average finish of 10.8 and a pre-race Driver Rating of 94.9 (7th-best) at Dover.
In other good news, Bayne signed a full-time deal to drive the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015.