By David Morgan, NASCAR Contributor
After a return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series last season, Regan Smith found himself without a ride for the 2017 season, but on Thursday, the 33-year old New York native was able to land a part-time entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Ricky Benton Racing.
Starting with the season opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona, Smith and RBR will have a 12 race schedule for the 2017 season. The team will run the first six races of the season, with another six scattered in throughout the remainder of the year.
For those 12 starts in the No. 92 Ford F-150, Smith will have sponsorship from BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors, Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Network, Advance Auto Parts, and Valvoline.
“Regan is a talented driver who I have gotten to know over the years in the garage,” said RBR owner Ricky Benton. “The last couple of years we have grown our program and are ready to take the next step. (Crew chief) Mike (Hester) has done a great job leading this team, building good trucks and making great calls at the track, and having a racer like Regan behind the wheel is going to put us where we want to be in 2017.”
Smith has been a journeyman driver throughout his NASCAR career, driving for multiple teams across the three national series during his 15 year stint in the sport. He has raced for eight different Cup Series teams, scoring one win (Darlington – 2011) in his 211 starts, 12 different NASCAR Xfinity Series teams (six wins in 205 starts), and five different Truck Series teams.
Despite moving from team to team over the years, Smith is looking forward to the opportunity to getting back on the track, starting at Daytona.
“Ricky has invested a lot in his team because he loves to go racing. We have had discussions in the past about me coming to run a race or two with them, but it has never worked out in our schedules,” Smith said.
“When we got together this off season, we agreed to go racing and have some fun.”
“The draft is a great equalizer, so Daytona is a good place for us to work together for the first time. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot, but I think with my experience in the draft will lead to a strong finish.”
Both Smith and RBR will be looking to pick up where the team left off with Parker Kligerman last season, as the team finished in the top-10 in the first three races of the season before trailing off in their other starts throughout the remainder of the year.
“The challenge this year,” Smith said, “is to keep it going through those first six races and assess where we are and work to be stronger in all the races we run.”