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Smith still haunted by Talladega finish

Sprint Cup rookie Regan Smith is still coming to terms with having lost his first win last Sunday at Talladega after officials penalised him for passing Tony Stewart while driving bellow the yellow line at the bottom of the track

Smith reckons an opportunity such as he had at the restrictor-plate track may never present itself again. He says he still finds it hard not to think about what a win would have meant for him and his career at this point.

"I think the best way I can sum that up is even an hour ago standing in the hauler right there one of my guys said 'Man, you know, that would have got you into the All-Star race' and I was like 'Damn, that would have got me into the All-Star race and I got mad again about it," Smith said at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"You definitely think about it. You think about what it would have meant for your career. I would like to believe that's not the only time I'm going to be in a position to win a race and unfortunately the way this sport is you never know. You might not ever get an opportunity like that."

The DEI racer still insists he was forced to drive bellow the yellow line by Stewart's blocking tactics, saying he did what he thought was right.

If faced with same circumstances and if he had the chance of doing things all over again on that last lap, Smith said he would have kept his car where it was, even if that had caused a major wreck.

"If we were to go back two weeks from now, same situation, same circumstances at the end of the race, knowing what I know now, there would have been a big crash at the end of the race because I wouldn't have budged," Smith said. "I'd have stuck my nose there and left it there."

Had Smith been declared the winner at Talladega, he would have received a much-needed boost for 2009. His team are currently struggling to find sponsors for next year and although he hopes to keep his seat for next year, he admits that right now he is a free agent.

"Next year, we're working hard," he said. "Obviously we've got to get some sponsors over here and runs like last week and showing what the company is capable of definitely helped that out.

"Me personally, by the definition of the word, I'm a free agent right now and I'm looking for a ride. My first option and my priority is to get a sponsor on this 01 car and stay right here at DEI. I believe in the company, I believe in the direction we're going."

Smith currently leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings by four points over former IRL IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr.

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