As much of the field wrecked behind him, Matt Kenseth drove on to the race win in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday. Kenseth took both the checkered and yellow flags while more than 20 cars piled up between turn four and the start/finish line.
“It was pretty darn fast,” Kenseth said of his car in victory lane. “Restrictor plate racing isn’t a lot about the driver.”
Jeff Gordon finished second for his second-consecutive runner-up finish, and Kyle Busch was third.
“I didn’t see anything but Kasey Kahne’s rear bumper,” Gordon said after the reace. “I really have no idea how we made it to the white flag.”
Tony Stewart, in an attempt to block to maintain the lead, made contact with Mark Martin. The chain-reaction incident that ensued collected drivers including Bobby Labonte, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr., Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin and David Ragan, among others.
“It was my fault blocking, trying to stay where I was at,” Stewart said.
Despite damage from the incident Ragan was able to make his way across the start/finish line to finish fourth. Regan Smith was fifth in his final race with Furniture Row Racing.
Prior to the large multi-car incident on the last lap, the yellow flag waved four other times during the 188-lap event, with the largest incident being a three-car wreck collecting Carl Edwards, Cole Whitt and Joey Logano on lap 17.
The only other two drivers caught up in cautions prior to the last-lap carnage were Kurt Busch with a spin and contact with the inside retaining wall on lap 99 and Jamie McMurray with a spin with six laps to go. The other caution was for debris
The field cycled through green-flag pit stops once during the race around lap 60. Three drivers — Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch and Earnhardt — were caught speeding on pit road during the recycle and wound up losing laps while serving their penalties. By the closing stages of the race, though, all were back on the lead lap.
Busch was the only driver of the three to post a top-five finish. Earnhardt did make his way back toward the front, but was caught up in the “big one” on the final lap.
“Everybody goes for broke,” Busch said. “I just cranked it left and went to the apron.”
With a seventh-place finish, Brad Keselowski extended his points lead over Jimmie Johnson to 14 points. He, Johnson and Hamlin held on to their top-three positions in the championship points standings.
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