Sunday, May 8, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Smith wins Darlington Derby

The winning car of Regan Smith rolls
through inspection prior to qualifying

Animal Kingdom won Saturday's Kentucky Derby as a 20-1 underdog. An even bigger longshot came home later that night in the Southern 500 at Darlington, as Regan Smith notched his first ever win. He joins Trevor Bayne as this season's first time winners. Strangely, they have won the two biggest races on the early schedule with Bayne nabbing the Daytona 500. Should we look for another surprise winner in the Coke 600 later this month? Andy Lally, perhaps?


Smith stayed out during the last of the yellow flag pitstops, four laps from the end. He then survived a wild finish, and a last lap charge by Carl Edwards, who ended up second. Smith gave underfunded Furniture Row Racing its first NASCAR win.


Brad Keselowski played the pit strategy also, and came home third while helping Smith beat his rival. Pole sitter, Kasey Kahne led the most laps on his way to a fourth place run. Marcos Ambrose (13) and Bobby Labonte (17) had good nights spoiled by last lap crashes.


Juan Montoya was again involved in a few skirmishes. He hit Jimmie Johnson's car early in the going, turning it into a long night for the Champ. Later he sideswiped Brian Vickers, which foreshadowed later ills for The Sheriff.


Kevin Harvick needs to respect NASCAR and all the sponsors. Confronting a rival is one thing, but to act like a crazed 16 year old is quite another. Back in the transporter area, behind the pits, is an ideal spot to hash things out. But Kev loves the drama; grabbing Greg Biffle by the throat on pit road at BMS, getting out of his car DURING A RACE at a road course to confront Montoya, and now his latest childish behavior in front of 60,000 fans and a national TV audience. Stay classy, Harv.


I don't have any problem with the start and park teams. But, I hate to see a hard working guy like Andy Lally go home while six other cars all ran less than 34 laps. Lally is committed to run every lap of every race as he shoots for rookie of the year. Meanwhile, Michael McDowell ran 7 laps and made over $10,000 per lap. Your race winner, Regan Smith made $700 a lap!

Bad Night at Lady in Black for The Sheriff

Darlington Stripe!
Rookie, Andy Lally scraped the wall during
qualifying, and missed the race


  1. You mean you didn't see Kyle TURN Kevin into the wall as the caution came out?? That happened right after Clint Bowyer hit the inside wall. If that wasn't deliberate, I don't know what is! NO WONDER Harvick was PISSED. If you're going to give Harvick a red flag, then Kyle gets one for wrecking Harvick, Bowyer, Marcos Ambrose, AND Bobby Labonte in the closing laps. Kyle ran into Ambrose, who in turn ran into Labonte, causing him to hit the wall. Road rage if you ask me.

  2. Good call on the childish actions Gene.


    I'm not sure what precipitated it, but I've got the race on tape and Kevin ran into the back of the 18 before all hell broke loose... then he put the 29 right up against the 18 leaving Kyle nowhere to go... He was going to push the 18 into the wall so Kyle pushed first... Clint Bowyer should REALLY be ticked at his teammate... Then came the BS antics like it was Kyle's fault...

    I know Harvick's your favorite jon... Let's see how NASCAR sees it, shall we?

  3. Jon... Kev's red flag was for his actions after the race, the only road rage I saw. Have you ever seen a champion caliber driver act like that after a race? No, they settle it like men... not like a kid on the bumper car ride.

    Yes I did see Kyle hook the 29....BUT I also saw the 29 hit the 18 THREE times on the half lap leading up to the hook.

    Going down the backstretch the 18 was cleanly passing the 29 on the inside. Kev came down and slapped doors. 18 completed pass, 29 rammed 18 going into turn three, getting him loose. 29 went inside of 18 in turn four, while 33, unwisely, made it three wide on the inside of 29. 29 door slapped 33 sending him into wall. 29 then hip checked 18 again. Kyle had had enough at that point and hooked the 29 just as the caution light came on.

    Here's a short vid to watch that half lap just as I described it

    I have not seen a replay of the last lap wreck with the 9 and 47, but if Kyle did wreck the 47 I'm glad to see that Labonte acted like a champion when he was on pit road behind Kyle.

  4. Dwindy... As they were three wide, 18 came down, but never touched 29. 29 was expecting a hit, and went down into 33. During Bowyer's post-crash interview he never mentioned Kyle. He knew who's fault it was.

    NASCAR is not going to penalize them for what happened on the track. Harvick might get fined or probation for general D-Baggery after the race. Kyle will get fined/probation for pushing 29 on pit road.

    Too bad Kyle didn't have reverse gear so he could have kept backing up a little bit while Harv kept chasing him halfway around the track.

  5. Oh my goodness what an end to Darlington! Bummed I missed it live. First off huge congrats to Regan on his first win at a very tough track. He was so cool at Daytona - I thanked him profusely for pushing Kurt to his Duels win. Good kid!

    Agree with you Gene, penalties will be coming for both for the pit road antics, not on track. Happy nailed Kyle a few times the lap before as you said, Kyle definitely took the meelee as an opportunity for payback under the guise of wrecking...all good hard racing. All I can say is thank god no one on pit road got pinned by the 29 but Kyle had few options at that point.

    Something missing from most post race reports is how are the crew members that got drug and run over on pit road?? Scary stuff...

  6. I thought the saying was "stay classy, San Diego"! lmao

  7. Hmmm... I seem to remember two very high caliber drivers duking it out in front of God, and all creation, near turn 3 at the 500, many moons ago...

  8. CR... or should I call you Ron Burgundy? LOL

    I guess when the two wrecked cars come to rest in a steaming pile beside each other, it's okay for the drivers to hash it out right then and there... ala Cale and Donnie 30+ years ago.... or Jeff and Jeff just last year.

  9. Kevin and Clint haven't always been the best of teammates. In fact, Kevin and Jamie McMurray act more like teammates than Kevin and Clint. I still remember Atlanta a few years ago when Clint spun out with less than 10 laps to go, costing Kevin a sure win. (Kevin had a five-second lead wiped out by that caution and Kasey Kahne ended up winning. Kahne was better on the restarts and short runs; Harvick was a sitting duck on the subsequent restart.)

  10. Yes Jon, Jeff Burton and Harvick aren't exactly best friends either.

  11. t to agree with your black flag, Gene...I like Lally, he's great in the Rolex Series and, like you said, is running the full race distance (well, as much as possible...can't help it much when he gets crashed out or lapped, lol) whereas McDowell has already had his one and only race this season.

  12. ok, not sure why it cut off the first's supposed to be 'got', not 't'

  13. Tez... Lally is a nice guy, trying to learn, and looks like the next rookie of the year. He's always doing something crazy... street luge, MMA fighting, mt. biking, parachuting, etc.

    I look forward to see what he can do on the road courses this year.