Smith, DEI Move Past Controversy at Talladega, Ready for Charlotte Mooresville, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) -- After being credited with an 18th-place finish in Sunday's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Regan...
Smith, DEI Move Past Controversy at Talladega, Ready for Charlotte
Mooresville, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) -- After being credited with an 18th-place finish in Sunday's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Regan Smith is ready to put the controversial finish behind him and shift his focus to Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Smith was running second on the final lap Sunday at Talladega when he attempted to pass race leader Tony Stewart. The two-time NASCAR champion moved up the track to block the rookie from Cato, N.Y. Smith came back down the track, placing the nose of his car underneath Stewart and crossing the finish line ahead of the veteran, but NASCAR officials ruled that he had done so by passing below the yellow line. The move was controversially ruled a violation of the NASCAR rules, and Smith was eventually slotted in the 18th position -- that last car on the lead lap.
"Last week was last week and there's nothing I can do about it," Smith said. "I disagree with the ruling, but of course we'll accept it and move on. I'm glad that I don't have to make those calls. NASCAR has a tough job to do and they do it to the best of their ability.
"The main thing is how well we ran as an organization at Dale Earnhardt Inc. We had four great race cars in the race; any of which could have won the race. I can't say enough about everyone at DEI and ECR engines. Everyone at both organizations continue to work hard and build fast race cars.
"Obviously with last week's run, we're looking forward to Charlotte. Everybody at the shop has been walking around this week with their heads held high and their chests stuck out. We're bringing a new car and we think it's as good as the one we had at Talladega. We had a great test with it in Charlotte a few weeks ago, so we think this No. 01 DEI/Principal Financial Group Chevrolet can run up front on Saturday.
"The 1.5-mile tracks have kind of been our Achilles heel this season, and that has been baffling. Last year, those were the tracks were we excelled in the Nationwide car, so we know it's just a matter of finding what works for us. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that this weekend. We are riding a wave of momentum into the race. Everyone has a little extra bounce in their step, and we want to keep that going this weekend."