Kurt Busch, who was hired to replace Smith at Furniture Row Racing next season, got a jump on that job early by taking over the job this week and finished 21st in his debut race. That opened up Busch's seat at Phoenix Racing, and Smith was scheduled to drive that car at Charlotte.
But when Smith got the call to replace Earnhardt, the team gave a chance to AJ Allmendinger, who made his first start since his July suspension for failing a random drug test. Allmendinger, who had not raced since June 29, finished 24th.
Greg Biffle, who set a track record in winning the pole, finished fourth. It moved him up three spots in the points to sixth. He was followed in the finishing order by non-Chase drivers Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and Carl Edwards.
Kasey Kahne was eighth, but it cost him a spot in the Chase standings and he's now fifth. Joey Logano, winner of Friday night's Nationwide race, was ninth and Chase driver Martin Truex Jr. was 10th to give MWR all three of its drivers in the top 10.
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