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exchanging Kings purple for Raptors red
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork. Custom Los Angeles Chargers Jerseys .com) - Time is running out for Regan Smith to catch his JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the Nationwide Series championship point standings. With just five races remaining, Elliott, a rookie in the series this season, holds a 26-point lead over Smith. Nationwide is running at Kansas on Saturday and then Charlotte next week. The series will take a two-week break before the season concludes with Texas (Nov. 1), Phoenix (Nov. 8) and Homestead (Nov. 15). Four of the final five races will be contested on 1.5-mile racetracks, including Kansas. On Friday, Smith confirmed that he has signed a one-year contract extension with JR Motorsports, a Nationwide team co-owned by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. Earnhardt had announced Smiths new agreement earlier this week on Twitter. @ReganSmith and @JRMotorsports just finished the paperwork that keeps him in the 7 car for 2015. Couldnt be more pleased about this, Earnhardt tweeted on Wednesday. Smith, the driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet, made his Nationwide debut with JRM in the 2012 season-finale at Homestead, a race in which he scored his first career victory in the series. Last year, Smith finished third in Nationwide points. He has scored one win and a series-best 24 top-10 finishes this season. Excited to be back, Smith said of his contract renewal with JRM. Ive been fortunate to have a great place to call home and a great place to race at with good people, good sponsors and fast race cars. As a driver, thats something you always look for and its important. You want to have an opportunity to go out there and showcase what you can do every week, and Im fortunate enough to have that. As bosses, Dale, Kelley and Mr. H. (Hendrick) have been absolutely amazing to me. Ive learned a lot over the past two years. And Im sure I will learn a lot more next year. One year ago at Kansas, Smith led a race-high 81 laps but ended up finishing third after he was on pit road just before a caution came out and had to rally late in the race. The season is really starting to wind down, and now is the time we have to be making gains in the points, he said. At this point, we have to be finishing better than our competition. There isnt any room left for mistakes or poor finishes. Elliott will compete in a NASCAR national touring series race at Kansas for the first time. Two of his three wins in Nationwide this season have occurred on a 1.5-mile track (Texas and Chicagoland). Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Kansas Lottery 300. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Matt Kenseth and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Kenseth is the race defending winner. Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, Oct. 4. Race: Kansas Lottery 300. Site: Kansas Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 3:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2013 Winner: Matt Kenseth. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio. Virgil Green Jersey . -- Nick Bjugstad snapped out of his scoring slump and spoiled Drew MacIntyres first NHL start. Derwin James Jersey .9 million deal Thursday. The 25-year McGinn had 19 goals and 19 assists in 79 games last season in helping the Avalanche tie a franchise record with 52 wins.MINNEAPOLIS - Even with a 51-point game and a Slam Dunk Contest title on his resume - two dunk titles, depending on whether or not you took this years contest seriously - Terrence Ross is still taking people by surprise, even his own teammates. The Raptors second-year forward has been one of the primary beneficiaries of the early-season trade, breaking out and becoming a vital part of his teams success on both ends of the floor. Around the league, teams are starting to take notice and feature Ross more predominately in their pre-game scouting reports but its not just the opposition that hes impressing. After missing his first game of the season with an ankle sprain last week, Ross returned to action on Friday, knocking down six of eight attempts from three-point range while scoring 18 points in 26 minutes. Following the win over Sacramento, Patrick Patterson - acquired in that deal with the Kings in December - was asked who has surprised him the most since coming to Toronto. "Terrence," he responded immediately. "Terrence by far. I had no idea he could shoot like that. I always knew about his athleticism, I watched him in college. I knew about his scoring ability, his ability to attack the rim. Hes a solid defender as well. Hes got some good hands on him as well, but for him to be able to knock down that three at such a consistent rate, come off screen and rolls and hit that midrange jump shot, I had no idea he was such a great shooter." "Terrence is definitely the guy that has caught my eye since being here." A year ago, Ross - a 22-year-old rookie out of Washington - showed flashes of what he could become. His athleticism stood out, more than anything else, but he lacked consistency and, at times, confidence and focus. Selected with the eighth-overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Ross was an unknown commodity. If you ask other players, coaches, front office execs or people around the league what they knew about him at that time, most would admit they were aware of one, maybe two facets of his game. Maybe they knew he could shoot or how athletic he was. Few realized how diverse his game could become. Now, with 132 NBA games under his belt and an opportunity to start and log consistent minutes in coach Dwane Caseys rotation, hes looking like a completely different player. Hes looking like a two-way player. Ross has connected on 17 of his last 27 three-point tries, scoring in double-figures in five straight games, matching a career-high he set back in January. "At times it seems effortless to him," Patterson added. "When hes on the perimeter, just one or two dribbles and he just shoots it with great confidence, such great arc, perfect follow-through and it goes in, nothing but net." Like Patterson, John Salmons has also been pleasantly surprised with Rosss arsenal since exchanging Kings purple for Raptors red. "Man, were sitting on the bench, when he shoots, we think its good," said the veteran Salmons, 11 years Rosss senior. "Hes aautomatic. Uchenna Nwosu Chargers Jersey. Every time he shoots, we think its good. You dont think that about too many people." Those that have been around Ross long enough, working with him from day one - namely DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry - say they could see this coming, raving about what theyve seen from the 23-year-old in practice. For everyone else, its taken a bit longer. Ross had his coming-out party at All-Star Weekend in Houston last year when he won the Slam Dunk Contest. He began to turn heads again after exploding for 51 points in a loss to the Clippers on Jan. 25. "I think the whole league was surprised [after that game]," said former teammate Rudy Gay. "Hes one of those guys that when hes making shots, there aint no one in the whole league that can stop him. He has so much potential. Now that people are starting to see it, hes getting more attention. Its nothing we didnt know." After Gay was traded Ross seized his spot in the Raptors starting lineup. Since, hes playing just under 30 minutes a night - up from 18 - taking twice as many shots (10.6) and averaging double the points (12.7). Since the trade, he ranks eighth in the NBA in three-pointers made - just above teammate Lowry - shooting the long-ball at a 43 per cent clip, up from 33 per cent in his rookie year. Hes been especially proficient from the corners, where hes drained 39 of his treys since Dec. 8, tied for second-most in the league behind Atlantas Kyle Korver. However, its been his defence thats kept him on the floor long enough to knock down all those threes. Ross has earned Caseys trust with his effort, focus and natural ability on the defensive end, routinely tasked with guarding the oppositions best perimeter player. "Hes grown into that role," Casey said. "Hes earned it, he enjoys it, he does a good job with it with his speed and quickness. Hes not totally there yet. I dont want to anoint him as a defensive stopper but hes growing into that role, doing a good job with it, learning each and every [game]." Ross has raised the bar for himself, now the expectations - even internally - have increased. At this point, on this team, Casey is happy with Ross harnessing his efforts on defence and spotting up for open looks but knows hes capable of growing into a more well rounded player. "We want him to be more of a pick-and-roll guy, thats his next step of growth," said Casey. "Making plays for other people will help him a lot. Thats probably where he needs to grow most." How good can he be? Salmons joked that even Ross, himself, is unaware of his full potential. "He dont know," Salmons said with a laugh. "He dont realize how athletic he is." “I hope he [knows how good he is]," Patterson said. "The sky is the limit for Terrence. Hes getting better every single game. His confidence is getting higher and higher and hes believing in himself more. I hope he realizes how good he is right now and how great he can be." 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