Regan Smith takes his first checkered flag at Darlington in a race where tempers flared, leaders made costly mistakes on the track and in the pits, and where cars were opened up like they ran into a can opener.Ã‚Â 21 lead changes exchanged over 12 different drivers, 10 cautions and 19 cars earning their Darlington stripes. With his best race this season well under way, running 6th with 10 to go, Jeff Burton’s blown engine set the stage for a finish that no one expected, least of all Regan Smith himself.Ã‚Â Staying out while the leaders all went in gave Smith the lead and put Brad Kesolowski and Tony Stewart in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
With 6 laps to go Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer got together coming out of turn 4 setting up a green white checkered finish for only the second time at Darlington the first time being in 2007 where Greg Biffle won the race.Ã‚Â Starting from the bottom line Smith jumped out front on the final restart and held off Carl Edwards for the first Cup win of his career.
Smith was overjoyed in his interview as he exited his car in Victory Lane.Ã‚Â When asked if he could describe how he felt his simply said “No, I really can’t.”
Wishing a Happy Mothers Day to all the moms watching the race and wishing his mom was there, he continued on with his thoughts about the race.
“I want to thank the fans for coming out, Furniture Row, These guys have stuck with me for 3 years and we’ve had some major up and major downs, I think this qualifies as a major up.Ã‚Â The car was good all night but we never had track position, so when the opportunity showed up to stay out there Pete made a great pit call.”
“It worked out, we’re in the All-Star race, there’s too much cool stuff going on right now.Ã‚Â I had to get my composure back.Ã‚Â We got a neat trophy now, legends win this race, I’m not supposed to win this race.Ã‚Â I’ve never even had a top 5.Ã‚Â I guess that shows that in this series anyone can win on any given Sunday.”
Carl Edwards, who had fresh tires on the final restart did everything he could to get to Smiths rear bumper but was unable to get there at the end.
“There were about 6 things I could’ve done differently, and I will be doing them in my mind ’till the next time we get here.Ã‚Â I want to offer my congratulations to Regan Smith, I need a mattress, I think I’m gonna go buy one at Furniture Row.Ã‚Â He did a great job, he spun the tires a little bit on the restart, I pedaled to make sure I didn’t beat him off the line, and then Brad (Kesolowski) pushed him.Ã‚Â This race means a lot to win. This is a huge day for him.”
Edwards went into Victory Lane to offer his congratulations to Smith and told him ” ‘This is a really big deal’, he knows that.Ã‚Â I’ve worked with him as a crew member as low man on the totem pole, he’s a good person and I guess if had to get beat, it’s alright to get beat by him.Ã‚Â We’ll be back, we’re leading the points and we’ll just get the next one.”
Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are probably going to be the most talked about subject this week after their post race pit road brewhaha.Ã‚Â After getting together on the track in the incident that ended Clint Bowyer’s night, Busch hooked Harvick and sent him into the outside wall.Ã‚Â Harvick was none too pleased with that and waited for Busch as the cars lined up to enter pit road.Ã‚Â Pulling out of the line Busch was having none of it, but Harvick pulled out onto the track with him and started getting his gloves and helmet off.Ã‚Â Busch turned around and headed back into the pits but Harvick beat him there and stopped his car with Busch behind him before he climbed out of his car and walked angrily back to the 18 car of Busch.Ã‚Â As Harvick wound up to take a swing at Busch, Kyle hit the throttle and pushed Harvick’s unattended car into the interiorÃ‚Â pit road wall and drove away from the scuffle.
It should have ended there, but as always when tempers flare the entire pit crews for both drivers were going at each other while cameras rolled and the volunteer race marshals did their best to keep them apart.Ã‚Â I have a feeling that we will be hearing a lot more about this one than we did about Montoya and Newman.Ã‚Â Heck, maybe this week we’ll finally see a black eye, or a fat lip, if Harvick catches Busch in a dark hauler somewhere.