Regan Smith says having - and taking - the chance to win Sunday at Talladega was worth everything that happened on the controversial final lap.
"To be in that position is what you are there for and it was a great feeling," said Smith, the Cup rookie who passed Stewart for the lead only to have NASCAR rule he did it by going below the yellow "out-of-bounds" line on the inside of the tri-oval. Smith was penalized for the move and dropped to an 18th-place finish with Stewart getting the win.
"I can honestly say in a five minute period there I completely ran the full spectrum of emotions," Smith said. "They say in racing you have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and I felt all of that in a pretty short period of time."
Smith, driver of the No. 01 Chevrolets for Dale Earnhardt Inc., said he knew he had to try something on the final lap.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"If I had just sat back there in second place, I would have had 400 people at Dale Earnhardt Inc. mad at me," he said. " ... When you have that type of opportunity, you have to go for it.
"I told the guys on the plane coming home that I'd much rather finish 18th going for the win than finish second by not trying for the win, and they all knew exactly what I meant. If I had to do it again, I’d still go for it."