By AMANDA VINCENT
The more things change, the more they stay the same for NASCAR driver Regan Smith. After three years of Xfinity Series competition from behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet of JR Motorsports, Smith is returning to the Sprint Cup Series with Tommy Baldwin Racing for 2016 to drive a No. 7 TBR Chevrolet in that series.
Early on Thursday during the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour, TBR owner Tommy Baldwin revealed that his race team had parted ways with Alex Bowman, who drove for the team in 2015. Later in the day, Tommy Baldwin Racing sent out a release announcing Smith as its new driver. Meanwhile, Bowman’s racing plans for 2016 include a partial Xfinity schedule with JR Motorsports, Smith’s previous racing home.
“This is a really great time for us,” Baldwin said in the release. “Having a driver with Regan’s credentials further elevates our program. He’s a seasoned driver and a proven race winner. We’re really looking forward to 2016.”
Prior to racing for JR Motorsports between 2013 and 2015, Smith was a Sprint Cup competitor, driving for Furniture Row Racing. He alreay has 176 races of Sprint Cup experience, including a win in the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. He also served as a fill-in driver for four Cup races in 2015, substituting for a then-suspended Kurt Busch at Stewart-Haas Racing in the first three races of the season and later filling in for an ill Kyle Larson at Chip Gannassi Racing for one race.
Smith won five Nationwide-turned-Xfinity Series races during his three-year stint at JR Motorsports and finished in the top-five of the series points standings all three yeaars.
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