Leffler joins Showdown field

JIM CRESSMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:57 AM ET

A fractured wrist has forced NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Regan Smith to pull out of Delaware Speedway’s Summer Showdown next Wednesday, but the driver replacing him is no slouch.

Jason Leffler, a 34-year-old Californian who finished fourth in the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series and third in 2007, joins Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch and David Reutimann on Delaware’s famed half-mile oval.

All three will be coming off races at Daytona this weekend and are en route to Chicago next weekend.

“It’s going to be fun to watch those guys alongside our top local guys and a lot of bragging rights are at stake,” Delaware general manager Joe Czernai said Tuesday as the three NASCAR drivers will take on 23 area late model drivers in a 50-lap feature.

Busch is currently third in Sprint Cup points, 161 behind leader Kevin Harvick. Reutimann is 19th.

Busch has $3.3 million US in winnings as he’s been to victory lane twice in 2010, with five top-five finishes and nine top-10s.

Leffler is 11th in Nationwide points. He gave Toyota its first victory in that series in 2007.

Smith, 30th in Cup points, suffered his injury June 20 in a crash at Sonoma, Calif., but he managed to race last weekend at New Hampshire wearing a special cast. He’s begged off Delaware as he doesn’t want to subject the wrist to any unnecessary punishment.

Ron Sheridan of Mt. Brydges, the late model points leader at Delaware, is looking forward to the non-points event and is one of the favourites to win as he’s taken the checkered flag in three of the first eight features and is 41st in the NASCAR Whelen All-American national championship standings.

“We fine-tuned the car a little bit and we’ve come up with a package that’s working and is comfortable for me,” said Sheridan, who appeared destined for a third-place finish in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series opener at Delaware June 5 when he was tapped on the backstretch on the final lap by Jason Hathaway of Appin.

“We’ve been very fast the last couple weeks. I’m looking forward to racing those (NASCAR) boys. With no points on the line we’ll all be going at it hard.”

This weekend, Sheridan will be at Delaware on Friday night, then make the long overnight haul to St. Eustache, Que., for the NCATS race the next night.

jim.cressman@sunmedia.ca


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