In one of the wildest finishes ever at the Talladega Superspeedway Matt Kenseth skated away from a field that was wrecking behind him giving the Roush-Fenway driver his second restrictor plate win in the season and only his second win overall for 2012.
The carnage that followed his win took out nearly the whole field. The Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 was filled with lead changes, pit road penalties, and fuel concerns in addition to the ever-present threat of the “Big One” that is wont to occur at Talladega and other restrictor plate tracks.
The “Big One” waited until the last lap to erupt and it devastated the field. Tony Stewart was in the lead and blocked when Michael Waltrip had a run on him to take the win. Contact occurred between the two resulting in a 20-car pile-up that jumbled finishing order as well as points in the Chase.
Jeff Gordon, desperately trying to make up a deficit he’s had since the first Chase Race in Chicago earned second for the second time in a row.
Kyle Busch ran third. David Ragan made his way to fourth. Regan Smith came in fifth.
Greg Biffle, Kenseth’s teammate, was sixth. Brad Keselowski claimed seventh. Travis Kvapil was eighth. Ryan Newman placed ninth. Jeff Burton rounded out the top-10.
Keselowski held on to the points lead staying 14 points ahead of his nearest threat, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. It’s the second week Keselowski and Johnson occupy first and second in the points respectively.
Hamlin held on to third for a second week after his 14th place finish in Sunday’s race.
Kasey Kahne – 12th at Talladega – jumped two spots to fourth. Clint Bowyer lost one position after finishing 23rd in the race landing in fifth.
Gordon had another excellent finish that led to his leap of four spots placing him in sixth. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Stewart, thankfully okay after his ordeal that saw him fly through the field and walk away from the vehicle, lost two spots with his 22nd place finish putting him in seventh. Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th in the race which was enough to keep him in eighth place another week. Biffle picked up two spots to put him in ninth. Kevin Harvick, 11th in the race, lost one position down to 10th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a strong run at Talladega for most of the day even erasing a lap down that plagued him after a speeding incident on pit lane early in the day. He seemed to be in position to end the day in a strong finish but got collected in the melee that affected so many. Earnhardt Jr. dropped four spots down to 11th. Despite being race winner, Kenseth is still sitting in 12th for another week.
With Talladega in the books, the drivers set their sights on racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway under the lights for the Bank of America 500 on Saturday, October 13th at 7pm on ABC. This is the only night race on the Chase schedule so be sure to tune in for all of the drama Saturday night racing brings!
Join me back here at this site for my Bank of America 500 Race Recap after the race.
Candice Smith can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s.
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