Regan Smith to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr's Nationwide team

Regan Smith's performances in the past two NASCAR Sprint Cup races have earned him a full-time drive with Dale Earnhardt Jr's Nationwide Series squad for 2013

Regan Smith to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr's Nationwide team

Smith, 29, filled in for Earnhardt at Hendrick Motorsports at Charlotte and Kansas while the former was sidelined with a concussion.

After running well at Charlotte and then finishing seventh at Kansas, he has now been rewarded with the drive by Earnhardt's JR Motorsports outfit.

Smith will make his first appearance for the team's #5 Chevrolet at this year's Nationwide season finale at Homestead next month.

JR Motorsports currently fields Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt in the Nationwide Series, ranking 10th and seventh in points respectively, but Patrick is set to step up to the Cup next year with Stewart Haas Racing.

Smith is also set to drive the last two Cup races of the season for Phoenix Racing, where he is sharing driving duties of the #51 Chevy with AJ Allmendinger. He lost his Furniture Row Racing drive to Kurt Busch recently.

"This is an extremely good opportunity for me," Smith said. "Dale Jr and I first started talking about the possibility of me driving for his team several years ago, but the timing never matched up to where we could make it happen. Now it's time.

"I'm happy to be a part of this organisation. I don't want to just win races. I want to be the team that dominates races and contends for the championship."

"Filling in for Dale Jr was an honour, and it got me acclimated to the Hendrick Motorsports group, which obviously JR Motorsports works with hand in hand. I was glad to fill in for Dale Jr, and I'm happy that he's back in his race car this week at Martinsville."

Smith last drove in Nationwide in 2007 for Ginn Racing, taking in a partial season while making his first few outings with the same squad in Cup that year.

JR Motorsports' most recent Nationwide win came at Atlanta in 2010 with Jamie McMurray driving.

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