The Talladega Super Speedway has always been known as home of the big one and Sunday during the Sprint Cup Chase for the Cup race presented by Pennzoil, the track certainly lived up to the nickname it was given over 40 years ago. During the final lap of the race while in the lead, Tony Stewart attempted to block Michale Waltrip from passing him in the lower lane and then all hell broke loose as the two collided and 22 other cars paid the price for Stewart’s aggressive move.
Of the 24 cars involved in the wreck, 10 were drivers that are currently in the Chase, including Stewart, points leader Brad Keselowski and runner-up Jimmie Johnson. The only two Chase drivers who were lucky enough to avoid the massive wreck were race winner Matt Kenseth and second place driver Jeff Gordon. Non-Chase driver Kyle Busch also avoided the wreck and rounded out the top three finishing third.
Among the other Chase drivers, Greg Biffle finished sixth, Keselowski seventh, Kevin Harvick 11th, Kasey Kahne 12th, Martin Truex Jr. 13th, Denny Hamlin 14th, Johnson 17th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 20th, Stewart 22nd and Clint Bowyer 23rd. With just six races remaining in the Chase, each week’s results become more crucial, especially to the drivers who still have a legitimate chance of claiming NASCAR’s most prestigious award.
Currently Keselowski, looking for his first Sprint Cup title, sits in first place with 2179 points with Johnson in second 14 points behind him, Hamlin in third 23 points behind, Kahne 36 points behind and Bowyer 40 points behind. Gordon is making up the most ground right now as he has now notched his third consecutive top-three finishes and sits just 42 points behind after beginning the Chase in 12th place. Following Gordon is Stewart 46 points back, Truex Jr. 48 points behind, Biffle and Harvick tied 49 point behind, Earnhardt Jr. 51 points back and, despite earning the victory, Kenseth in last 62 points in back of Keselowski.
Newt week the drivers head to North Carolina to compete in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, where Earnhardt Jr. claimed the Showdown exhibition earlier this season and Kahne won the regular season race leading a total of 96 laps in total. Both drivers will look to duplicate their magic from earlier in the year while the rest of the drivers look to improve the positions in the standings–except Keselowski, who is attempting to hold every one else off.