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Regan Smith wins wreck-fest at Talladega

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm •  Published: May 4, 2013

"I was really surprised they threw that caution, so many times they wouldn't in that situation," Kahne said. "NASCAR always switches it up, you never know what's going to happen."

The win moved Smith into the points lead for the first time in his career, and for the first time for JR Motorsports. Brad Keselowski had the team second in points for nine weeks in 2008, but the team struggled after his departure and team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. began making wholesale changes last fall that culminated with Smith's hiring and then the November addition of crew chief Greg Ives, a longtime crew member from Jimmie Johnson's Cup team.

Smith won the Homestead season finale, and has his first win of the 2013 season.

"We've been working real hard as a race team to try to get to Victory Lane," Earnhardt said. "I'm real happy for Regan and the whole group, really. They've been working so hard, so many late nights, trying to get faster and trying to find that little bit of extra speed, to be as good as they can be. You can really see the effort between Greg and the whole group ... they are trying to gel as fast as they can because they know they've got a great opportunity this year.

"This is just a result of all that hard work, a result of all that effort they've put in, a result of the talent Regan's got, the ability he's got. We're just thrilled that we're in this position and we've put the pieces of the puzzle together to be able to accomplish this."