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BRISTOL, Tenn. -- There was beating and banging. There was late-race contact. There were near wrecks. It was Bristol at its best.
Or worst, depending on your point of view.
Ty Dillon and Regan Smith certainly saw the final 10 laps of Friday night's Food City 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race differently, and Smith's frustration spilled over onto pit road when both drivers parked following their respective top-five finishes. Dillon (fourth) and Smith (fifth) had a heated, animated discussion that included some finger-pointing … but no shoving.
It still got the garage buzzing. Some of Dillon's crew members who were packing up the hauler saw the incident on the TV screen atop the scoring pylon, dropped their equipment and ran back to pit road in case their brute was needed. It never quite came to that, but it was obvious both drivers were peeved by the time it was over.
"This is Bristol, man," Dillon declared, a statement he would repeat several times when meeting with reporters. "I'm running for points and I'm trying to get the best finish possible. I squeezed him a couple of times, but I'm trying to get all I can. We're trying to win this championship.
"I didn't have any problems. Basically, Regan was upset that I got into him off the corner a couple times, but it's under 10 (laps) to go. I hate that he's upset, but stuff like that happens. As mad as he wants to be, it's racing."
Smith was plenty angry, evidenced by his terse post-race comments. Like Dillon, he too is fighting for a championship. In that regard the JR Motorsports driver is in second place, 13 points behind teammate Chase Elliott, following Friday's race. Dillon is third in the standings, 30 points behind.
Room is tough to come by on this 0.533-mile bullring, and Smith's contention was that Dillon didn't give him enough of it.
"His excuse is that he was tight," Smith said tersely following the race.
The 30-year-old driver seemed to have mellowed out somewhat as it neared midnight at the track. He sent the following tweet approximately an hour after that incident:
Crazy night @BMSupdates! Might need to borrow some sleep aids and high blood pressure medicine to get to sleep after all that.— Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) August23, 2014
If he's still seeking revenge, though, the series is back to another short track in two weeks at 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway.
Until then, Dillon is content with how he handled himself both on and off the track.
"They can (say) whatever they want to, I'm going to race as hard as I can," Dillon said. "This is Bristol, man. It was good. I had a lot of fun."
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