RELATED: See how Smith won at Mid-Ohio ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Regan Smith used a bit of bumper two weeks ago to become NASCAR's most recent road-course winner, shoving road-racing veteran Alex Tagliani in the last lap at Mid-Ohio to take his first XFINITY Series victory of the year. With the final road-course race of the season looming at Road America , Smith said he doesn't have regrets about the late-race contact, which left Tagliani steaming with cross post-race words. "I think if you're in that same situation, you've got to do what you can do to go for wins," Smith said before opening XFINITY practice Friday at the 4.048-mile circuit. "I guess in that circumstance in that situation, I didn't wreck him, just had a little bumper tag there and we came out as the beneficiary of it. I have not spoken to Alex and didn't really figure he'd be in the mood right after the race to talk at all, so I think possibly down the road, we will. He's somebody that I've raced with a few times now and enjoy racing with him. I think he would understand the scenario of going for wins and doing what we've got to do there. "It's a fine line. There's wrecking a guy and there's moving him and getting the position. We see the moving all the time. It's not anything new. It's been done in our sport for a thousand times and a thousand more times in the future, I'm sure. The feedback I got from drivers, crew members, you name it, they thought it was a good move and they thought it was fine. I didn't really hear too much negative about it." Smith's victory helped bolster the JR Motorsports driver's case for a series championship. Though he ranks fourth -- 51 points behind series leader Chris Buescher -- he noted that plenty can change with 11 races remaining on the calendar. "I think we're still in it," Smith said. "We're racing like we're still in it, and the mindset is to go out and do everything we can to lead laps and win races. And if you're doing that, you close up on points even quicker than you can imagine." While the title fight for this season has ramped up, Smith has also kept a focus on making his 2016 plans final. His recent remarks about his potential free-agent status have sparked interest into what next season might hold, plus in which series he'll be competing. Smith reiterated his goal of returning to the Sprint Cup Series, where he's performed admirably in fill-in roles the last two seasons -- including three races this year in place of the suspended Kurt Busch and one race after Kyle Larson 's fainting spell on the eve of the first Martinsville race of 2015. "Working hard every day to figure out 2016," Smith said. "I think I've been clear for the better part of two and a half years now that I want to get back to Sprint Cup and do that at some point, so I'm fortunate to be in fast race race cars at JR Motorsports right now and have an amazing opportunity here and definitely don't take that for granted. At the same time, I want to give myself that opportunity to get back to the other series. As soon as all that stuff plays out and I have answers, then I'll given them as soon as I can."
Regan Smith needs a safety truck to push him off the track after having battery issues at Road America.
RELATED: Smith seals the deal at Mid-Ohio Regan Smith defined what it meant to pull a 180 at Mid-Ohio last Saturday. One week after nearly coming to blows with Ty Dillon on pit road at Watkins Glen, Smith found himself smiling and pumping his fist triumphantly in Victory Lane. "This is an incredible feeling, just an awesome feeling," Smith exclaimed after winning for the first time in 52 starts. On Friday, Smith will try to celebrate for the second consecutive week by winning the Food City 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "Once you do it (win a race) once, you want to do that every week," Smith said. "That moment when you pull up to the pit wall and do a burnout with your guys standing there, who put so much time and effort into everything that you get to go out there and showcase, there's no moment like that, nothing that compares to that, no feeling or sensation." Currently fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, Smith trails his JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott (+26 points), Ty Dillon (+27) and Chris Buescher (+51) for the lead. Bristol is a prime place for Smith to gain ground on his young adversaries. He has made as many starts (11) at the .533-mile track as Elliott, Dillon and Buescher have combined. RELATED: Series standings Also on the line for Smith is the $100,000 NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus. To earn the extra money Smith must finish ahead of Daniel Suárez, Ryan Blaney and Elliott Sadler . He grabbed the first two Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonuses at Dover and Indianapolis, so if Smith earns the bonus this weekend, he can win $1 million through the Dash 4 Cash program by winning the XFINITY race at Darlington on Labor Day weekend. RELATED: Smith wins second round of Dash 4 Cash, $100,000 "We want to win this weekend, for sure, with the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash on the line, and there’s no better place for it than Bristol," Smith said. "We're looking forward to it."
RELATED: Smith , Dillon get physical post-race Regan Smith shared his view of the post-race fracas with Ty Dillon at Watkins Glen International last week, and he made no apologies for his actions. "I was pretty fired up after the race, and I feel like rightfully so," Smith said on "JR Motorsports Up Front" on Dirty Mo Radio. "That's the passion of our sport, that's why we do it. We don't do it because we go there to be all happy-go-lucky. We do it because we want to go out there and race hard and win. When you feel like you've been wronged, then sometimes you've got to handle it." Last Saturday following the Zippo 200, Smith stopped at competitor Ty Dillon's car, leaned in and grabbed Dillon by the front of his uniform, confronting him about an incident between the two in Turn 1 on a Lap 40 restart. The two NASCAR XFINITY Series championship contenders pushed and shoved and shouted angrily at each other, promising retaliation down the road before NASCAR officials and various team members stepped in to separate them. Smith eventually was pulled away and made his way back to the garage area still fuming. The JR Motorsports driver offered some insight into his history with Dillon and the on-track incident that sparked his ire. "I think from my perspective I've been on the receiving end on more than one occasion from that car," he said. "And that's the frustrating part and that's the part that really builds. I think this year for the most part we have done a good job of racing each other hard, racing each other clean and kind of had an understanding of how we were going to run each other. I didn't take very nicely to the move that was made on Saturday. "I feel like and I don't mean to say this arrogantly, but there are certain guys in our series that are very good at braking and in braking zones … If you outbrake them, it probably means you have missed the corner, whether its a restart or whatever. For me to get in any deeper in that corner, I would have wadded the 22 ( Brad Keselowski ) up and wrecked him and the 33 ( Paul Menard ) likely. I don't race that way. ... On a road course, I feel like probably most of us, or the majority of the field has enough experience to understand that and realize that." RELATED: Dillon gets an interesting gift from Virginia Tech coach The turn of events was even more frustrating for Smith because it was an example of yet another good run at a road course turned bad for circumstances out of his control. "If you look back at my two-and-a-half-years here, we have run top five at every road course, and run strong enough to ... potentially win all of them," he said. "That's the most frustrating for me. We've got nothing to show from any of them. And it's not by our own hand of making mistakes on our own. "It's been of other things and other people just doing boneheaded stuff that makes absolutely no sense to you. We could be sitting here talking about almost 10 straight top fives on a road course instead of 'Wow, Regan never finishes good at a road course.' That's not the case. We are always up there, in the hunt and maybe that, sometimes that can be the curse. A lot of times you look at the top fives when these races are over and its guys that didn't run near the top five all day long and that's just how these things shape out sometimes." Heading into Mid-Ohio for the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) Smith is fourth in the points standings, 57 points behind championship leader Chris Buescher . Dillon is tied with Smith's JRM teammate and defending series champion, Chase Elliott for second place in the standings. Smith says he thinks that circumstances will put he and Dillon together a bit this weekend. RELATED: Latest series standings "You can pretty much guarantee that we will qualify next to each other, ride on the same pack truck prior to the race. That's how it works in NASCAR." And while Smith says he has not watched the incident, he is confident someone at JRM will make sure he sees it at some point. "I haven't watched it, nor will I," Smith later jokingly added, "I'm sure I'll be forced to watch it at the Christmas party or at some point. I know I am not going to be able to get away from it."
Regan Smith 's final lap maneuver for the win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday was met with praise and outrage alike from fans. Some called Smith's move, which bumped then-leader Alex Tagliani out of the way, a necessary part of racing, while others deemed it dirty. RELATED: Tagliani says he doesn’t respect Smith ’s win Smith's JR Motorsports car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr . addressed the last lap frenzy during his weekly "Dale Jr. Download" show on Dirty Mo Radio Tuesday. "I myself have to say in all the decades of stock car racing, that move has been made millions of times,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “And it will be made millions of times after. It’s part of stock car racing, you know. They have bumpers and fenders and if it's the last lap and that's the lap that pays, and if you get moved out of the way, sometimes it’s not fun being on that end of it. "But if you’re going to win the race, it’s definitely worth it in my opinion." Junior went on to cement the difference between Regan ’s move and wrecking someone for the win on the final lap. "I don’t believe in spinning a guy out, I don’t believe in putting a guy in the fence," Earnhardt said. "But if I can move you out of the way to win the race and hey, you come home second, third, somewhere in the top five, that's just how it goes. I'm sorry. "And I wouldn't be happy if I was Tag because that’s definitely no fun to lose that way. But that's always kind of been part of our sport. So, I'm not making excuses for Regan ." Earnhardt also explained that Tagliani's last-lap driving style left the door open for Regan to make a move, whether it was welcome or not. For the team owner, it came as a surprise that Tagliani, as dominant as he was, didn't put more distance on the No. 7 machine in the final minutes. "On that last lap, Tag was underdriving the car quite a bit and then I think when he noticed he was underdriving it, he went into whatever the hell that corner is and overcooked it in the entrance of that corner and got loose," Earnhardt said. "You can see his hands in the car moving -- 'swattin’ flies' is what I called it on Twitter. But you can see him chasing the back of the car into that corner and he missed the line completely. "And that’s an invitation in stock car racing. I know that's not how they drive in open-wheel, but it's how they drive in stock cars." For Smith , the element of career uncertainty also played part in his decision to move Tagliani out of the way for the win, Earnhardt said. The former Sprint Cup Series driver hadn’t won in 52 races and his contract with JR Motorsports expires at the end of the season. " Regan's definitely working for his future," Earnhardt said. "He's a guy that's trying to claw his way back into the Cup Series. And he's got to try and do what he needs to do for himself." Earnhardt then likened Regan's move to one that a now-famous Sprint Cup Series driver performed more often than his competitors preferred. "I had a driver before Regan that would move a guy out of the way to win if he needed to win the race," Earnhardt said with a chuckle. “And that was Brad Keselowski . And look where he ended up." Earnhardt, Keselowski and the rest of the Cup Series drivers have a busy few weeks ahead of them, as they prepare to go short-track racing at Bristol this weekend (Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) before heading over to Darlington during Labor Day weekend. In honor of the track moving back to the race's traditional Labor Day weekend slot, the Darlington race weekend has taken on a old-school theme, with several drivers wheeling throwback paint schemes. "Darlington’s going to be a bit of a throwback weekend," Earnhardt said. "I think even the broadcast is going to go throwback -- I've heard some good things from Steve Letarte about that." The No. 88 driver also hinted that his team will be unveiling several new schemes in the near future. "We've got a throwback paint scheme that we’re going to unveil soon. We've got all kinds of crazy stuff happening with paint schemes," Earnhardt said. "Everything next year might be new. Been doing a lot of work with that and seeing a lot of cool ideas. So, I'm excited to share all that as soon as we can."
Richard Childress Racing driver at Virginia Tech on Tuesday MORE: All Access of skirmish Three days after a confrontation with Regan Smith , Ty Dillon can't get away from the incident -- even when he physically moves away from the incident. At Virginia Tech on a Bristol Motor Speedway media tour Tuesday, Dillon was given a No. 7 T-Shirt. No, not for famous alum Michael Vick ... PHOTO: @VT_Football Coach Beamer presents @tydillon with a funny gift. Think it's from @MikeVick , not @ReganSmith . pic.twitter.com/SoZWsqeaTH — BristolMotorSpeedway (@BMSupdates) August 11, 2015 Looks like head coach Frank Beamer, a noted NASCAR fan, is also quite the jokester. His Virginia Tech Hokies will play the University of Tennessee at Bristol on Sept. 10, 2016. Just in case you forgot, here's Saturday's incident between the two drivers.
Smith , Sadler, Blaney and Suarez advance to Dash 4 Cash at Bristol SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Regan Smith 's eighth place finish in Saturday's Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway wasn't the victory he'd hoped for, but Smith and his JR Motorsports team was still able to celebrate having gotten one step closer to winning a million dollars in the series' Dash 4 Cash incentive program. While race winner Kyle Busch was hoisting trophies nearby in victory lane, Smith accepted a check for $100,000 as the second round winner of the Dash4Cash program. He also collected $100,000 on May 30, after winning the first round at Dover, Delaware. Any driver who wins the first three Dash 4 Cash awards then wins the final round race outright -- Sept. 5 at Darlington -- would total $1 million for the effort. Smith bettered championship leader Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott and Brendan Gaughan to claim Saturday's portion of the winnings. Smith , along with Indianapolis' runner-up Ryan Blaney , third place finisher Daniel Suarez and fifth place finisher Elliott Sadler now advance and are eligible for the third round of competition Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We had three battles we were fighting today,'' Smith said standing alongside his No. 7 AmericasPower.org Chevy covered in pretend dollar bills. "First and foremost we wanted to win the race and we weren't capable of doing that today. We knew that so then we wanted to win the money and gain points on the 60-car and we did both of those things today and that's what we've got to keep doing every week. "I know as a company we're working hard to get going further forward. "I thought we could have been anywhere from 6th to 10th . We'll take that and we're going to bust our ass the rest of the year." Smith , last year's championship runner-up sits fourth in the rankings entering next week's XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway. He trails Buescher by 51 points. In the meantime, Smith joked that he already had an idea how to spend at least a portion of his now $200,000 Dash 4 Cash effort. "I'd like to buy a cool box, I'm really hot right now," he joked with a big smile. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Watch Smith's late pass to steal the win from Tagliani at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Regan Smith ended a 52-race XFINITY Series winless streak in Saturday’s Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- but at what cost? That's the question runner-up Alex Tagliani , who Smith moved out of the way coming around the final corner of the 2.4-mile road course, found himself asking after the race. The No. 22 Team Penske driver, whose only scheduled XFINITY start this season came this weekend, felt that Smith's aggressive move was out of line based on how the two had raced throughout the event's 75 laps -- and it's something he won't forget. "The pass I put on Regan early on, it took a lot of time to put that pass in because I know he's working for the championship and he was very vocal about what happened last weekend so he seemed to be very aggressive, too," Tagliani said after the race. "I'm a little guy, so I didn't want to get into a fist fight. Knowing what I know now, I probably would've done a little bit less of an in-between pass, and it's really unfortunate what happened at the end. Take your point and walk away happy, but to celebrate this way ... winning this way is not winning for me. "From my perspective, there's going to be some bumpers. That's going to happen and I know that. The thing is, where I really don't appreciate is moving. I don't respect his win today. He didn't really try. He could've tried Turn 2 and put the fender on me and just moved me out of the way a little bit and get a run on the back straightaway. He could've bonsaied me going into Turn 4. He could've come out of 4 and just dove on the inside of (Turn 5). He could've done all kinds of things, but he never tried." The "last weekend" that Tagliani refers to is the late-race fracas between Smith and Ty Dillon , who finished third at Mid-Ohio and sided with Tagliani in their joint post-race press conference, when the JR Motorsports driver vehemently disagreed with Dillon's move on him that left Smith with a 20th-place finish. RELATED: Smith offers his side of Watkins Glen incident Thus, it's interesting that the roles were nearly reversed, and Smith saw things in a different light. To hear the two drivers each describe the final lap, it's like they weren't even at the same race. "We took the white flag, I made an adjustment inside the car with something I can do," Smith said. "Went into Turn 1 and pretty much sailed it in there because I at least needed to close it up and make him nervous. As soon as I got on his bumper, I noticed him start to get a little more squirrelly, a little bit more trouble through the corners and that allowed me to stay with him that whole last lap. We went through Turns 9 and 10 and that allowed me to stay right on his back bumper and was pushing him through there and just letting him know that I was there and right on top of him. We went in the carousel and he went to play it cautious ... and I pretty much went the speed that I thought I needed to go, which was a little bit faster than the speed he thought he needed to go and just kind of pushed him up the race track a little bit. I hate doing that to him; he's raced me clean throughout the years ... these wins are hard to come by and it’s been a long time since I've had one. I was pretty hungry and after last week, I was even more hungry. "The fact of the matter is, I moved him out of the way and he finished second. I didn't wreck him, I didn't spin him, I didn't do anything like that. Obviously, I don't expect him to be happy about that. I wouldn't be either. I've been on the receiving end of many of them here on these road courses. We had to take that opportunity." While Tagliani likely won't see Smith on the track for at least the rest of the season -- he has no other scheduled XFINITY starts announced, and Smith's plans for next year are still up in the air -- this one is sure to sit heavy on his mind for some time. He'll be waiting. "I thought maybe it was a mistake on my part, to think that because I'd (raced him clean) early in the race, he was going to race me clean until the end. I was unprepared," Tagliani said. "Next time I will be prepared."
WATCH: Different view of scrap " Contact that started scuffle WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- There was no mistaking Regan Smith 's purposeful stride down pit road or the look in his eyes following Saturday's Zippo 200 at the Glen XFINITY Series race. Sure that he had been manhandled on the famous road course, Smith , 31, stopped at competitor Ty Dillon 's car, leaned in and grabbed Dillon, 23, by the front of his uniform, confronting him about an incident between the two in Turn 1 on a Lap 40 restart. The two championship contenders pushed and shoved and shouted angrily at each other, promising retaliation down the road before NASCAR officials and various team members stepped in to separate them. Both Dillon's father, Mike, and his grandfather and team owner, Richard Childress, came to the scene. Smith eventually was pulled away and made his way back to the garage area still fuming. Because of their championship points position, Smith's JR Motorsports hauler was parked only two spots away from Dillon's Richard Childress Racing hauler. Dillon's older brother, Sprint Cup Series driver Austin, stood outside while his brother went into change out of his race uniform. "I got dumped in Turn 1, it's pretty simple and I'm not the only one he dumped today," Smith said of Ty Dillon. "I may have lost the championship today, but he sure as hell did, too," Smith told reporters walking away from pit road after the race. "There's zero chance the 3 car (Dillon) wins the championship. And I'm going to make sure of it." Both Smith , a former Sprint Cup Series race winner, and Dillon, in his second year in the XFINITY Series, had other run-ins during the race -- with their teammates. Smith was hit by fellow JRM driver Chase Elliott early in the race. And Dillon spun out RCR teammate Paul Menard . "I wanna say, first, I'm sorry to my RCR teammates and the 7 guys ( Smith's team) for my mistakes, I'm truly embarrassed, I deserve anything said," Dillon said on Twitter after the race. "I will not take anyone pushing me around after a race; that takes it to another level. All that said, another top 5 -- gotta keep up the finishes." See Ty's tweets: Dillon tweets after brawl with Smith The damage from Smith's incidents relegated him to a 20th place finish, while Dillon finished fifth. Dillon explained the accident with Smith and assumed the blame. "I got a good run, cut to the inside; it's the first time I've done that here at this race track," Dillon said. "I've seen people ... do it. I just didn't complete it. It's as simple as that. I made a big mistake, got to wheel-hopping and there's no saving it. I did it two times in a row; I'm very disappointed in myself for doing that. "Not only did I tear up everyone else's car, but I tore up mine as well. Very apologetic about that, but not about after the race." Told that Dillon had been remorseful about hitting Smith , the veteran responded, "Of course he was, he came out of all of them [accidents] unscathed." MORE: NXS drivers points standings The eventful day was costly in the standings for Smith . Dillon is now tied with Elliott in second place, 24 points behind leader Chris Buescher . Smith remains in fourth place but now trails Buescher by 57 points after being only 39 behind before the race. Smith trailed third-place Dillon by 18 points entering the weekend and is now 33 points behind his rival headed to next week's road course event at Mid-Ohio -- the second of three road course races in August for the XFINITY Series.
Regan Smith makes a move on Alex Tagliani in the final corner to grab the checkered flag for the first time in 52 races at Mid-Ohio.