Regan Smith wins Xfinity Series race at Dover
DOVER, Del. (AP) Regan Smith could leave JR Motorsports with one heck of a parting gift.
Smith wants to stay with his NASCAR Xfinity Series team in next year, but if he has to go, he'd gladly take a championship trophy with him.
Smith strengthened his championship push with a victory Saturday at Dover International Speedway and moved within serious striking distance of the points lead.
''I'm trying to figure some things out for next year, so wins never hurt,'' Smith said. ''That's never a bad thing going forward.''
Smith won for the second time this season and moved within 36 points of series leader Chris Buescher with five races left in the season.
He would love to add a championship to his resume. He faces an uncertain future with JR Motorsports after the organization signed Elliott Sadler for next season. JRM also fields a car for defending series champion Chase Elliott and has a multi-driver car.
Crew chief Jason Burdett picked up a win - and an impostor. The man, who was not identified but said he was a big NASCAR fan, sat at the Dover media center press conference table and answered three questions before he was shooed away by a NASCAR spokesman.
Denny Hamlin was second, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.
''You can't pass here. You know there's no outside grove to get going on anything,'' Busch said.
Buescher finished eighth and has a 24-point lead over Elliott.
''There's plenty of racing left and this thing is far from over,'' Buescher said. ''If we just go out and run our race and try not to worry too much about the points, we should be in good shape.''
Ty Dillon is in rough shape after he tumbled from second to fourth in the standings after an early wreck dropped him to 28th in the race. Dillon's No. 4 Chevrolet blew a tire and smacked the wall.
''All of a sudden I heard, `Pow!''' he said.
He was out of the car before the rain hit that red flagged the race for 31 minutes. Smith took the lead off the restart and led 80 of 200 laps.
Sadler, who finished ninth, held the lead when the race was halted. Sadler lost the lead moments before rain hit and caution came to deny him a win in the 2009 Daytona 500.
''I've never had much luck with the rain,'' he said. ''I've always been on the wrong side of that.''
He's winless in 28 races this season driving for owner Jack Roush. Sadler has been a regular in Xfinity since 2011 and was twice runner-up in 2011 and 2012 in the championship standings.
His arrival at JR Motorsports, which has 26 career Xfinity wins, could squeeze out Smith after three seasons. Smith, who said he was ''looking at every possibility,'' has six career wins in 197 starts and has one win in the elite Sprint Cup level.
''I guess it's not going to hurt for solidifying my job status,'' Smith.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. stopped by the media center to congratulate Smith. Smith's future employment was a worry for another day - he was headed out to pound some beers.
''I'm going to have a headache tomorrow. I'm not going to lie,'' he said.