Regan Smith pulls off a stunner with Darlington win|
Darlington, SC (Sports Network) - Regan Smith staged a major NASCAR upset by
holding off Carl Edwards in a two-lap overtime finish to win Saturday's
Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Smith took over the lead when he opted not to pit, while most of the other
leaders came in for a final round of stops during a caution in the closing
After the restart, Smith continued to run in front when Kyle Busch, Kevin
Harvick and Clint Bowyer wound up bumping into each during a three-wide battle
coming out of turn four. Bowyer slammed hard into the inside wall. Busch then
made contact with Harvick and sent him into the outside wall.
The incident setup a green-white checkered finish. Smith quickly pulled away
from Edwards after the final restart, but Smith scraped the wall along the
backstretch on the last lap, allowing Edwards to gain on him.
Smith managed to fend off Edwards at the finish by 0.2 seconds for his first
win in his 105th career Sprint Cup Series start.
"The car was good all night, but we just didn't have track position," Smith
said. "The opportunity showed up to stay out there. [Crew chief] Pete
[Rondeau] made a great pit call. I was going to be mad if he didn't do that,
but I was going to do what he told me to do. It worked out."
Smith became the sixth different driver to claim his first Sprint Cup win at
"Legends are supposed to win this race; I'm not supposed to win it," he said.
Lake Speed was last driver to pick up his first Cup victory at Darlington in
This is Smith's third season with Furniture Row Racing, a single-car team that
operates in Denver, CO.
"These guys have stuck behind me for three years now," Smith said of his team.
"We've had some major ups and downs, and I think this win would be classified
as a major up for sure."
On the eve of Mother's Day, Smith's mother was not able to be attend the 500-
mile race due to her participation in tornado relief efforts in Tuscaloosa,
While Smith took his victory lap around the tricky 1.366-mile Darlington
track, tempers flared on pit road where Harvick pulled in front of Busch's
car. Busch attempted to drive away from Harvick but was unsuccessful in his
After Harvick hopped out of his Chevrolet and then approached Busch, who was
still inside of his Toyota, it appeared that Harvick threw a punch at him.
"It's just uncalled for, and it's just unacceptable racing," Busch said. "It's
in the last couple of laps, but I gave him room coming off of [turn] two, and
I didn't get the room. It's just real unfortunate. I hate that we tore up a
few good cars there."
Busch finished 11th, while Harvick settled for 17th. Both drivers were
summoned to the NASCAR hauler for a discussion with race officials.
"We were doing what we had to do at the end, and things happened," Harvick
said after his chat with officials.
Edwards' second-place finish came four days after his wife, Kate, gave birth
to their second child -- Michael Edwards.
"[Smith] spun his tires a little bit on the restart," Edwards said. "I pedaled
to make sure I didn't beat him across the line. Then Brad [Keselowski] pushed
him, and I was scrambling. I thought, 'I hadn't planned on this.' I had
planned on getting the lead."
Edwards widened his points lead to 23 over Jimmie Johnson, who rebounded from
several issues during the race to finish 15th.
Johnson, the five-time defending series champion, spun around after Juan Pablo
Montoya hit him from behind early in the race. He also spun around on lap 221.
Johnson was later penalized for a missing lug nut during a pit stop.
Keselowski finished third, while Kasey Kahne, the pole sitter, and Ryan Newman
rounded out the top-five. Kahne led the most laps with 124.
Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray and Martin Truex Jr.
were sixth through 10th, respectively.
The race featured 11 cautions, including one on lap 230 when Brian Vickers and
David Ragan made contact. Ragan's Ford tore off most of the left-side panel on
05/08 02:04:27 ET