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SPARTA, Ky. -- With expectations in check knowing Kentucky Speedway is among his worst tracks, Regan Smith entered Friday night's John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over as the Nationwide Series points leader and surrendered that distinction to Elliott Sadler after a 28th place result to continue his Kentucky curse.
The worst part? The result came along with a wrecked No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and a fiery Mike Wallace getting in his face on pit road.
While Smith was cooling down at his car after the race, Wallace stormed over, pointed to the portable televisions showing footage of Smith's wreck with 30 laps to go, and said "Good job. Pay attention when they're trying to show the replay."
Smith attempted to smooth things over and asked Wallace to come back so they could finish talking about their issues, but Wallace initially declined.
A few minutes later, the pair crossed paths again and things heated up.
"You deserved every bit of that, man. You don't need to run my door like that," Smith said, referring to a period earlier in the race when he chose to gesture to Wallace a very specific finger when Wallace ran half a lap with his No. 93 Dodge brushing against Smith's ride.
"What the (expletive) you running into the back of me for?," Wallace said, describing when Smith hit Wallace's rear while he and two others were three-wide going into the corner. "You know what? If I ran as bad as you in as good of equipment as you have, I'd be pissed too."
"You've done it for years, Mike. You've done it for years, buddy."
"Hey, Regan, doesn't it hurt to get (expletive) beat by the 5 (of JRM teammate Kevin Harvick) every time he shows up? You (expletive) wreck because you're a dumb (expletive)?"
When asked to give his side of what, exactly, happened, the JGL Racing driver -- who finished 25th -- didn't back off his comments.
"There's no side to my story, he ran into the back of me when we were three-wide getting into the corner and I ran him for a half lap and he had to stick his finger out the window and flip me off the whole lap.
"It was funny, because then he wrecked himself going down the back straightaway turning up in front of the 16 car (of Reed).
"He's a nice guy, he's got great freaking equipment. The best equipment. And he gets beat so bad by the 5 every time he shows up part-time and then he just (expletive), you know? It's alright. It's cool. That's why he's back here (in the Nationwide Series), you know?"
For Smith, this race was exactly what he didn't need. It's his second consecutive finish outside of the top 10 -- his only two of the season -- after he finished 13th at Road America last week, giving up his points lead around the same time he did last year. He knows that two-race stretch is difficult for him, even quipping, "I think I'm going to take these two weeks of the schedule off if that's possible next year."
Next week offers the veteran an excellent chance to right the ship, however, when the series shifts to Daytona International Speedway -- where he won the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300.
"We'll go to Daytona and fight hard," he said. "Not the two weeks we wanted, but that's racing."
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