By Jason Schultz
The Aaron’s 499 Sunday Afternoon in Talladega, Alabama featured some great racing. A late move allowed Brad Keselowski to pull away from Kyle Busch and take the checkered flag for the second time in his career at Talladega Superspeedway. This race featured numerous storylines and some frustrated drivers. Early in the race we saw Regan Smith, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson all have some sort of engine problem that forced all three to exit the race early. Michael Waltrip racing in his first race of the season took the lead for the first time on lap 25; he led 25 laps by the end of the race and finished nineteenth.
A strategic move had multiple drivers hanging in the back early including Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya. The first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 57 with Denny Hamlin pitting solo and eventually costing Hamlin a lot of ground. After the green flag pit stops had ended there was a four car break away that included Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon.
On lap 120 Kurt Busch took his first lead of the day. Kurt Busch was driving a car with a similar paint scheme to a car featured in the hit movie ‘Talladega Nights” staring Will Ferrell. Ferrell’s character “Ricky Bobby” was a driver of the “Me” car in a race at Talladega. The famous Talladega “Big One” occurred with 46 laps to go when Aric Almirola driving the No.43 got down on the apron and came back up on the track in front of Dave Blaney. Blaney then spun up into traffic. Other drivers that were involved in the accident were Carl Edwards, Terry Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Landon Cassill, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Joey Logano.
When Martin Truex Jr. tried to avoid the wreck ahead he slid up the hill a little and then attempted to swerve underneath the wrecked cars and Truex Jr. got into Jeff Gordon and Gordon was turned hard right up into the outside wall, hitting hard and ending his day. Gordon later commented about the incident by saying “that’s just the way our seasons going.”After this accident Mr. Rick Hendrick was down to two chances of winning his 200th Sprint Cup Series victory today with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. The next caution came out with 12 to go when Marcos Ambrose bumped Casey Mears sending Mears spinning and eventually Mears spun down the track and got into Trevor Bayne, spinning Bayne out.
A few laps after the restart Brad Keselowski attempted to switch lanes but while attempting to do it Brad got into the back of Kurt Busch spinning him out and ending Kurt’s chances of winning today and bringing out the caution once again. Coming to the restart with 4 laps to go the top five was Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle.
Just after the leaders passed the start/finish line mayhem broke loose. Denny Hamlin got into A.J Allmendinger spinning Allmendinger into Paul Menard. Hamlin spun up the track into Tony Stewart then drivers like Harvick, Waltrip and Bowyer who were trying to avoid the wreck made contact with the spinning Menard. Teammates Bowyer and Waltrip were left with little damage and able to continue in the race but Harvick had enough damage to end his day. Robert Richardson Jr. in the No.23 also had a good amount of damage to end his day.
Coming to the restart, Kenseth and Biffle were lined up on the outside and Keselowski and Kyle Busch were lined up on the inside. We only needed one attempt at the green-white-checkered finish to end the race. Biffle pushed Kenseth to the lead, much like the end of this year’s Daytona 500. Kyle Busch pushing Keselowski passed the Biffle and Kenseth duo and then took the white flag. When Kyle got loose entering turn 3 he lost contact with Brad Keselowski and couldn’t recover. Brad Keselowski went on to take the checkered flag.
Keselowski sounded like he planned this all out in victory lane by saying “…Had this move worked up in my mind.” A classic Talladega race left rising star Brad Keselowski in victory lane for the second time this season. Next week the Sprint Cup Series tackles Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina for a race that promises excitement.
- Greg Biffle
- Matt Kenseth
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Denny Hamlin
- Kevin Harvick
Results via Nascar.com
|1||13||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||47/4||194||Running|
|3||10||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Best Buy||43/2||194||Running|
|4||5||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||41/1||194||Running|
|5||6||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / O’Reilly Auto Parts||40/1||194||Running|
|6||24||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||Aaron’s / Alabama National Champions||38/0||194||Running|
|7||32||34||David Ragan||Ford||Front Row Motorsports||37/0||194||Running|
|8||11||21||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center||0||194||Running|
|9||18||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||36/1||194||Running|
|11||23||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats||33/0||194||Running|
|12||4||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Verifone Sail||32/0||194||Running|
|13||26||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Taco Bell||31/0||194||Running|
|15||2||22||AJ Allmendinger||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil-AAA||29/0||194||Running|
|16||41||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||29/1||194||Running|
|17||17||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Turtle Wax / Menards||28/1||194||Running|
|19||9||55||Michael Waltrip||Toyota||Aaron’s “Color your way to Talladega”||26/1||194||Running|
|20||33||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||25/1||193||Running|
|21||42||47||Bobby Labonte||Toyota||Bush’s Baked Beans||23/0||192||Running|
|22||34||10||David Reutimann||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||22/0||192||Running|
|23||22||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Express||22/1||192||Running|
|24||8||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||21/1||190||Running|
|26||30||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||Dollar General||18/0||184||Accident|
|27||39||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Toyota||North Texas Pipe||0||182||Accident|
|28||15||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||16/0||166||Accident|
|29||28||32||Terry Labonte||Ford||C&J Energy||15/0||143||Accident|
|30||38||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Golden Corral||14/0||142||Accident|
|32||12||42||Juan Montoya||Chevrolet||Target / Kraft||13/1||142||Accident|
|33||1||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||DuPont 20 Years||11/0||142||Accident|
|34||40||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||10/0||141||Accident|
|36||14||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats||8/0||42||Engine|
|37||36||97||Bill Elliott||Toyota||NEMCO Motorsports||7/0||37||Electrical|
|38||43||33||Tony Raines||Chevrolet||Little Joe’s Autos||6/0||32||Engine|
|39||27||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Stock Car Steel and Aluminum||5/0||30||Transmission|
|40||31||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||4/0||15||Engine|
|41||37||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves||0||7||Vibration|
|42||16||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||Morristown Driver’s Service||2/0||5||Rear Gear|
|43||35||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Curb Records||1/0||2||Vibration|