Smith makes way to Darlington victory lane
Amanda Vincent is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
The Showtime Southern 500 is usually a night for veterans, but Saturday night’s race at Darlington Raceway ended with Regan Smith in victory lane, celebrating his first-career sprint Cup Series win.
“Legends win this race,” Smith said in victory lane. “I’m not supposed to win this race.”
Smith found himself up front with just under 10 1aps to go when the caution flag waved for the 10th time during the race after Jeff Burton lost an engine. While most of the field pitted, Smith, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart opted to stay out.
Carl Edwards was the first driver off pit road to restart in the fourth position. When the race went back to green, he quickly got by Keselowski and Stewart to battle Smith for the top spot. Another caution waved with three laps to go when Clint Bowyer got into the wall, to set things up for a green-white-checker two lap race to the finish with Smith and Edwards battling for the win.
“If I had to get beat, it’s alright to be beat by him,” Edwards said.
Smith held on to claim the win, while Edwards finished second. Keselowski was able to hold on to drive his old tires to a third-place finish, while Stewart dropped back in the closing laps to finish seventh.
Kasey Kahne, who led the most laps of the evening, finished fourth, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five.
Many eyes, including those of NASCAR, were on Juan Montoya and Newman after the two got together in last weekend’s race at Richmond. NASCAR held a closed-door meeting with the two drivers prior to Saturday’s race, but the conclusion NASCAR officials wanted to the feud between the two drivers was not achieved.
Montoya and Newman stayed away from each other at Darlington on Saturday night. Instead, it was Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who shared ill will toward each other in the close of the Darlington race. The two got together late in the race. The incident was the result of what Busch referred to as “unacceptable racing.”
Busch retaliated by turning Harvick with about three laps to go. When Harvick and Busch pulled their cars onto pit road after the race, Harvick got out of his car and walked up to Busch. When Harvick stuck his arm into the window of Busch’s car, Busch pulled away.
Busch was credited with an 11th-place finish after going a lap down during the race. Harvick wound up 17th after leading laps late in the race.