Smith, Kwasniewski exchange post-race words
August 09, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
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The tone of their chat at the end of the NASCAR Nationwide Series' Zippo 200 was more explanatory than heated in the Watkins Glen International paddock. Neither had the finishes they wanted Saturday afternoon, but the two came to an understanding after a pair of run-ins -- one late-race, one post-race -- at the 2.45-mile road course.
"It was nothing. We're fine," Smith said after his 17th-place finish. "I had two runs on him. The second time, I just didn't give. It wasn't a point in the race to give, and I explained it to him. He said he wasn't going to wreck me. He was just trying to show he was mad. Sometimes you've got to be around a little bit longer before you start doing that stuff. I get it, though."
Kwasniewski, Smith and Kyle Larson all bottled up in the 73rd of 82 laps and Kwasniewski took the worst of the incident. The rookie faded to a 27th-place finish after an encouraging starting spot in 11th, and delivered Smith a bump on the cool-down lap.
"I could've come down on him a little bit. It's a racing incident; he spun me out," said Kwasniewski said after their pointed conversation. "But the incident at the end where I got into his bumper, I was just showing my displeasure for getting spun out. I mean, nobody likes getting spun out. If you let guys push you around in this sport, then you're not going to get any respect. Never had any intention of wrecking him, but just wanted to show him I didn't approve of what he did."
Kwasniewski said he considered the matter closed.
"I'll talk to Regan about it, and we're all good," he said. "It's nothing that's going to go over to the next race, but you just don't like getting spun out like that. You can talk it out after, and it's fine. There's no beef or anything like that."
As for Smith, the finish caused him to lose 10 points in his pursuit of JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, who leads second-place Smith in the Nationwide Series standings by 12 points heading to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the circuit's second consecutive road race.
It was the culmination of a day's worth of misfortune for the 30-year-old New York native, who wound up on the short end of pit strategy for the second straight week.
"Just frustrated with the whole day," Smith said. "We had a fast race car on the race track. Through practice, the Clean Coal team did everything they needed to do, and it was going smooth. We just didn't need pit stops. Unfortunately you have to come in and get tires and fuel at some point in the race, and it's two weeks in a row it's hurt us. So we're going to have to work hard on those. Whatever we've got to do to fix those, we need to do it because we're not going to win the championship that way."