By Shaun Burke
The Southern 500 is one of the longest and most grueling races of the year but this year it was absolutely worth it!
Regan Smith stayed out on old tires and held off Carl Edwards on a green white checker to pick up his first career win (second if you ask some). Unfortunately for Smith, the television cameras were focused on action occurring between a couple of driver who finished outside of the top ten.
On lap 365, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch got tangled together and played bumper cars for half a lap. After taking out an innocent bystander in Clint Bowyer, Busch hooked the right rear of Harvick’s car and sent him to the outside wall. The resulting incident put Busch and Harvick at the end of the pack (and out of harm’s way). After the race was over, Harvick and Busch changed games and played a little dodge-car before pulling the car on pit road. As Harvick unbuckled and approached Busch’s car, Busch quickly sped away but not before Harvick got a bunch through the window squarely landing on Busch’s helmet.
This incident caused great controversy on twitter not because Harvick punched Busch but because when Busch sped off, he pushed the vacant 29 car sending the car hard into the inside wall while several crew members were on pit road. After the race, both drivers were called to the NASCAR hauler and neither would give comments about what was discussed. One thing is for certain, we haven’t heard the last about this incident for sure!
Contrary to the incident on pit road between Busch and Harvick, there was actually a NASCAR race that occurred! Regan Smith’s first career win came in his 105th career start. It was also his first ever top five and just his second career top ten!
Smith owes part of his win to Brad Keselowski as well. After staying out on old tires, Keselowski raced Carl for about half a lap. This allowed Smith to pull away and hold Carl off on the last lap. Keselowski held on to finish third, his best finish since his upset win at Talladega in 2009. Kasey Kahne finished fourth after leading the most laps. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Newman who despite dropping deep in the field, charged back late in the race.
Unofficially, Carl Edwards now leads Jimmie Johnson by 23 points in the chase for the Sprint Cup. The rest of the top five are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Matt Kenseth sits tenth just eight points ahead of AJ Allmendinger for the final chase spot.
Next week the Cup Series heads to Dover where Kyle Busch will attempt to defend his victory on the track and his honor off.