To this day, Regan Smith still believes that he was the winner of the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega last fall.
Smith had made a move to pass Tony Stewart on the last lap coming down toward the start-finish line. As the field entered the tri-oval, Smith pulled his Chevrolet to the inside of the Tony Stewart Toyota.
But when Stewart moved down to block him, he was forced below the yellow line, something Stewart later admitted to doing.
NASCAR clearly states that a driver cannot advance his position by going below that line, but Smith kept on digging and beat Stewart to the finish line.
Smith and his team began to celebrate as NASCAR reviewed the tapes and Stewart's team yelled and ran for an official to call 20 team the winners.
NASCAR penalized Smith and marked him as finishing 18th, and Stewart was awarded the victory, something he believes is wrong.
"It's hard not to think about that last lap," said Smith. "I was being blocked, and it was either passing Stewart or crashing the field. I felt I made the proper move and won the race."
The Sprint Cup Series returns to Talladega this weekend and Smith, no longer driving the No. 01 car that he believes won, will look to officially write his name in the Talladega winners book.
Now driving the No. 78 for Furniture Row Racing, he's only running a limited schedule, but this race must have been circled on his calender.
He will, however, have to qualify his way into the field on time since he sits outside the top 35 in points.
Smith isn't worried about it, instead he's thinking about something else.
If it comes down to having to once again pass the leader coming to the finish line, this time he doesn't plan on making the proper move.
"I'm going to wad them up," he says. "I won't even think twice about it. If I have to go on my roof across the finish line to win it, I'll do it."
If you want to see if Smith qualifies his way into the Talladega field, qualifying will be held Saturday morning at 11:30 am on the Speed Channel.
The Aaron's 499 will be on Sunday at 1 pm on the FOX network where Regan Smith may once again become the center of attention.
Quote Source: Scenedaily.com