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Inside NASCAR: May full of mayhem and memories

June 01, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Month of May was full of wreckers, checkers, revenge and remembrance

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is great and the Daytona 500 is superb. But in NASCAR, there is no other month like May.

This May was no exception. It began with fireworks and controversy and an upset winner in the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and ended with an exciting, unexpected finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race. In between, there were Hall of Fame inductions, the emergence of a first-time winner and possible future star in the Nationwide Series, All-Star moments and much, much more.

Here is a look back at the busy month that was ...

Duking it out at Darlington

A popular but unlikely victor in the Showtime Southern 500 was somewhat overshadowed by some post-race fireworks that weren't planned, but first-time Sprint Cup winner Regan Smith could not have cared less. Smith, 27, was making his 105th Cup start and despite some strong runs earlier in the season -- he finished seventh in the season-opening Daytona 500 even though he was "wrecked probably four times" -- had never even posted a top-five finish previously.

"I'm not supposed to win this race," a beaming Smith admitted afterward. "I guess it just shows that in this series, anyone can win."

Emotions high


Regan Smith celebrated his first career win as Kevin Harvick took umbrage with Kyle Busch at Darlington.

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