Regan Smith Getting A Full Time Nextel Cup Ride

Regan Smith is finalizing a deal to drive the Number 01 car for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated next season. DEI acquired the Number 01 in last month's merger with Ginn Racing.

The 23-year-old Smith has verbally agreed to a one-year contract that includes a team option for two more seasons. The deal is expected to be announced next weekend at Richmond International Raceway, where DEI is planning to reveal its entire 2008 lineup.

Smith started the year splitting the Number 01 ride with Mark Martin. But a week before Bobby Ginn sold his team to DEI, he shuffled his lineup and gave Smith his own full-time Nextel Cup ride while signing Aric Almirola to split the rest of the season with Martin.

Once the two teams merged, Smith's ride went away and he was left without a car to drive in the Cup Series. He's raced just three times since the merger.

In six career Cup starts, Smith's highest finish was 24th at Talladega. He has six top-10 finishes in 102 Busch Series starts, and one top 10 in 14 Truck Series events.