Smith: No Regrets on 'Going for it' at Talladega
Question and Answer with Regan Smith on the most exciting 18th place finish of the NASCAR season.
Q. Coming to the white flag on Sunday what was going through you mind as the race winded down with you in second place with a teammate in the No. 15 car behind you?
Regan Smith: “I really felt good about our situation. I drug the brake some going through that last corner and Paul (Menard) tucked in behind me and gave me a great push. I knew at that point we’d have a chance to get by Tony and that is a pretty exciting feeling. We’ve worked so hard this year and had a lot of things to overcome. To be in that position – to win the race, it is what you are there for and it was a great feeling. I can honestly say in a five minute period there I completely ran the full spectrum of emotions. They say in racing you have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and I felt all of that in a pretty short period of time.”
Q. Did you ever consider staying in line and settling for the second-place finish?
Smith: “No, not at all. I knew that I had to go for the win. If I had just sat back there in second place, I would have had 400 people at Dale Earnhardt Inc. mad at me. The guys at DEI and ECR engines built me a great car, and I owed them a chance at the win. All you can ever ask for is a chance and we had that. When you have that type of opportunity, you have to go for it. I told the guys on the plane coming home that I’d much rather finish 18th going for the win than finish second by not trying for the win, and they all knew exactly what I meant. If I had to do it again, I’d still go for it."
Q. When Tony Stewart blocked you up high and then down low what were you thinking in terms of going for the win?
Smith: “It all happened really fast. I had been planning that move the entire last lap. I honestly thought that I had it when he went up high to block me. I got back underneath him, but then I just ran out of room when he came back down.”
Q. Did you ever consider staying above the line and getting into the No. 20 car?
Smith: “No. I really didn’t. I grew up working on my own race cars, so I respect the guys that work for me and Tony way too much to tear up our cars and make those guys repair them. Not to mention, I could have wrecked the entire field, not just Tony and myself, and there really was no reason for that.”
Q. Did you leave Talladega with your head high, knowing you ‘went for it?’
Smith: “I’m definitely proud of the way that we raced at Talladega. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hadn’t gone for the win. I had a solid shot to win the race and I was racing against Tony Stewart. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Q. Comment on the day that Dale Earnhardt Inc. had and what it was like having three of you guys up front for the green-white-checkered finish?
Smith: “That’s the main thing I want people to remember - the day that DEI had as an organization. We had four great cars - any of which could have won the race. We’ve been kicked around some in the media this year and a good bit in the last week, so we needed to have day like we had. We've got four great teams at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and I was glad to see us get some of the recognition we deserve. We have a lot of really good people working on these teams, and I think you were able to see the product of that effort on Sunday.”