|NASCAR’s “summer swing,” the unofficial title for the stretch of races running from Memorial Day to Labor Day across the schedules of NASCAR’s top-three touring series, is a daunting segment of the nearly 10-month-long season and can be the difference maker for teams hoping to be a championship contender come playoff time.
Aside from the toll of crisscrossing the continental United States for events, it also happens to the hottest part of the season, with select race venues seeing record temperatures. The summer months can be taxing on both man and machine. Caring for the latter is one of the ways that Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) founding partner Interstate Batteries leverages its NASCAR program, through reminding consumers to have their batteries checked prior to any summer road trips.
Driver Regan Smith will help deliver that message – and perhaps a little more – during this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Challenge NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, where he will pilot the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for JGR.
A six-time winner in XFINITY Series competition, Smith goes into this weekend’s race a former winner at the 2.258-mile road course, having scored the victory during the track’s 2015 event.Saturday’s 75-lap race will be Smith’s fourth career start at Mid-Ohio. In addition to the 2015 win, Smith scored a runner-up finish in 2014, so he has one win and two top-five finishes. He’s completed 259 of the 259 laps run in his three starts for a perfect lap-completion record, and he has an average starting position of seventh and an average finishing position of sixth.
As impressive as Smith’s record at Mid-Ohio has been, so too has been his overall efforts in the series. In addition to six wins, Smith has a total of 30 top-fives and 79 top-10 finishes. From 2013 to 2015 – the last three seasons in which Smith competed in the series on a full-time basis – he finished the season ranked among the top-four in the championship point standings, including a career-best second place in 2014.
While he is a series veteran, it will still be a weekend of firsts for the Cato, New York, native. In addition to the race being his first start of the season in the XFINITY Series, it will also be his first time racing for JGR and being an ambassador for the Interstate Batteries brand.
Interstate Batteries has been powering the championship-winning organization for more than 25 years and is the “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.” The iconic brand is in the midst of celebrating its 65th anniversary and has featured special branding on each of the paint schemes to reflect the milestone during its 2017 campaign.
Given JGR’s record in XFINITY Series competition and his affinity for the track, Smith has high hopes of being more than just a “messenger” by adding another check in the win column at Mid-Ohio.