WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Ty Dillon and Regan Smith engaged in a scuffle after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International, but the bellicose exchange that followed was even more bruising.
Smith grabbed Dillon by the firesuit in the pits after being spun on a midrace restart in the Zippo 200 at The Glen. Dillon seemingly attempted to cock a fist, but no punches were thrown as the drivers were separated by team members and NASCAR officials.
“I guarantee you I might have lost the championship today, but he sure as hell did, too,” Smith, who finished 20th, told NBCSN’s Mike Massaro in an interview after the confrontation. “There’s zero chance that (Dillon) wins this championship.”
The contact with Dillon on the Lap 40 restart dropped Smith from third to 29th.
“He says he’s going to wreck me, but we’ll see,” Dillon, who placed fifth, said of Smith. “Honestly, I was going to talk to him about it, but I guess he didn’t want to talk. If he wants to do that, I’ll meet him in the bus lot and handle it. I’m not afraid.
“We had a good Chevrolet. I just made two real big mistakes. I took full blame for it, but to come down here and pick a fight, it’s a different game.
Dillon said he lost control of his No. 3 Camaro on consecutive restarts because of wheel-hopping.
“I did it two times in a row,” he said. “I’m very disappointed in myself. Not only did I tear up everybody else’s car, but I tore up mine. I’m very apologetic about that, but not about after the race.”
Smith hardly was comforted by Dillon’s apology.
“Of course he did,” Smith said. “He came out of all of them unscathed. I’d take responsibility as well if I knew the car was back there in 30th place, out of my way. You don’t have to worry about it when you do that.”
Smith also confronted Brendan Gaughan after spinning from contact with Gaughan’s No. 62 Chevrolet with 12 laps remaining.
It’s not the first run-in between Smith and Dillon. The drivers had an animated conversation after last August’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, but it wasn’t as physical as Saturday at the Glen.
A tweet by Dale Earnhardt Jr., the co-owner of Smith’s No. 7 Chevy, took note of the history.
Dillon also reiterated his stance on Twitter.
Smith trails championship leader Chris Buescher by 57 points in the standings, with Saturday’s finish dropping him 18 points further behind first. Dillon is tied with Chase Elliott for second in the standings, 24 behind Buescher.