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Smith still thinks he won at Talladega

The Associated Press
Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009

Regan Smith still believes he won the last NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Smith, who drove last year for Dale Earnhardt Inc., will return to the Alabama track for this weekend's Cup race, driving the No. 78 Chevrolet for Furniture Row Racing.

"It's hard not to think about that last lap," said Smith, who led the field to the checkered flag in last October's Talladega race only to see the victory taken away when NASCAR ruled that he illegally passed Tony Stewart on the final lap. The penalty relegated last year's top Cup rookie to an 18th-place finish.

"I was being blocked and it was either passing Stewart or crashing the field," explained Smith. "I felt I made the proper move and won the race."

Though it would have been his first career Cup win, Smith harbors no ill feelings toward Talladega. In fact, the 25-year-old driver said he enjoys Talladega's 2.66-mile oval and looks forward to the three- and four-wide racing.

"Talladega brings out all of the emotions," Smith said. "I've always liked racing there. It's 500 miles of excitement and mind games, an incredible rush."