Dale Jarrett came out of nowhere on the races' final lap to power by for the win at Talladega Superspeedway. As Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart were involved in a two-lap battle for the lead, the No. 88 Ford of Jarrett snuck to the...
Dale Jarrett came out of nowhere on the races' final lap to power by for the win at Talladega Superspeedway. As Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart were involved in a two-lap battle for the lead, the No. 88 Ford of Jarrett snuck to the front on the high-side to steal his first win since 2003.
"I'm not sure I treated the one at Rockingham (his last win) very special," Jarrett said. "We were so used to winning those days I never thought we wouldn't continue winning a couple of races a year. And then our program got to the point that we just couldn't do that. So, we are going to treat this one special. This came at the right time for a lot of people, for me, Todd, Robert and Doug Yates and all the people at UPS."
It was a bit of magic for the Yates Racing team who re-teamed Jarrett with his championship crew chief Todd Parrott just two weeks ago in hopes of turning the No. 88 team around.
Mission accomplished as Jarrett earned his 32nd career win and the first win for Ford at Talladega in the last 13 races, when Jarrett won in 1998.
"I have to thank Todd Parrott and Doug Yates who gave me a great engine," said Jarrett. "It's just incredible..on the restart I kind of made a deal to go with Tony (Stewart). I know he's racing for a championship there and being in fourth I wasn't sure what kind of chance I would get, but I thought if I could go with him - but we kind of got a bad restart up front and the guys started dicing around.
"When we got back to the tri-oval I had gotten a little push and Tony went to the outside. I said 'Well, I told him I'd follow him. I'm going'. He had such a run that he went from the outside to the inside and I didn't have anywhere to go but to the outside of Matt (Kenseth). He was trying to block Tony and it worked out, and then Matt gave me a push down the backstretch and that was the winning part of it."
Tony Stewart was second and reclaims the lead in Chase standings, "What an awesome day, we had a water temp issue but we came back. I got a really good push there in the end from Dale Jarrett but when we got up there he got back by us. But it was a really good day for us."
Matt Kenseth was third earning his 12th top-ten of the season.
"I wasn't very good on the restarts getting through the gears," said Kenseth. "I don't know if it was just our ratios or what, but I knew that was gonna be tough and I saw them all gang up. I just didn't know where to block next, so once I did get shuffled back three-wide there, I could have gone with the 88 or the 20 and I gave the 88 a nice push.it's pretty cool that DJ won."
Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards complete the top five.
"We want to keep our head above water," Newman commented. "It was really hard to do today. A lot of goofy circumstances and situations are all a product of this type of racing. Tony (Stewart) said he's happy we're not doing this anymore this year and I said, 'Man, I am just happy to be alive'."
The No. 38 Ford of Elliott Sadler led the field to the green flag but his hopes of getting a good finish at a fall Talladega race went up in smoke at lap 19. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got into the rear of Jimmie Johnson, who slammed into Sadler - causing the big one as the trio was running 1-2-3.
"I'm really upset," said Sadler who was leading at the time of the wreck. "It's lap 18. Where are you going? I'm really upset at Jimmie. We've got three pedals in these cars and as many times as he's been drafting here he knows you always stack up at the end of every straightaway. It's the way the draft works. I guess he's trying to keep his streak alive. He caused a big wreck here last year and he caused a big one again this year.
"Maybe that's his way of racing at Talladega, trying to get rid of everybody so he can try and win the race. I don't know. I am just really upset right now.It's just been one of those years for us. I think this is three years in a row for us this, this fall Talladega race we just cannot finish this race."
Also involved were Mark Martin, Mike Skinner, Kevin Lepage, Dave Blaney Scott Riggs and Michael Waltrip who flipped the No. 15 Chevy several times before coming to rest on the infield grass.
"The 48 (Johnson) drilled the polesitter (Sadler)," explained Waltrip. "That's what I was just told by the polesitter. He was not happy about it. I, on the other hand did everything I could to get through it.just chalk it up to one of them deals."
The incident left Kenseth and Stewart at the front of the pack. Stewart was out front when the day's second crash broke out at lap 57. Mike Bliss cut a tire and collected JJ Yeley, and Kerry Earnhardt.
Jamie McMurray had assumed the lead when the afternoon's third skirmish happened on lap 66. Ryan Newman drilled the rear of Casey Mears No. 41 Dodge turning him into the grid. Also involved were Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Mike Wallace, Rusty Wallace, and Scott Riggs who flipped end over end destroying the No. 10 Chevy.
"Just a lot of craziness," said Gordon. "I don't know what you can do about it. It's in our hands, the driver's hands, to control. I think the bump- drafting is ridiculous. And I hope we can learn a lesson from things like this, but it doesn't seem like we do."
Stewart experienced overheating issues on the No. 20 Chevy forcing him to drop to the back of the field. The lead then swapped between McMurray and Kenseth through a series of cautions until Newman grabbed the top spot on lap 100. But Stewart was able to make adjustments on the No. 20 Chevy and quickly found his way back to the top by lap 116.
Stewart and McMurray exchanged the 1-2 spot before Stewart secured that position after a cycle of pit stops on lap 128. He wouldn't stay there long as Kenseth mounted a charge on Stewart stealing the lead a few laps later.
As the races laps counted down, Stewart remained in the lead until lap 176 when McMurray and Newman hung Stewart out to surge the No. 42 Dodge into the lead and shoving Stewart to fifth.
With seven to go it was six cars under a blanket battling for the race win but on lap 186 a single car spin by Ken Schrader brought out the caution and set-up a wild two-lap green/white/checker finish.
Kenseth led on the restart with Newman breathing down his bumper and Stewart challenging down low. Out of nowhere Dale Jarrett raced up the high side and grabbed the win just as the caution flew for Kyle Petty spinning on the final lap.
Tony Stewart heads the 2005 Chase class. Ryan Newman (-4), Rusty Wallace (- 76), Jimmie Johnson (-82), Greg Biffle (-98), Carl Edwards (-100), Matt Kenseth (-111), Jeremy Mayfield (-112), Mark Martin (-138), and Kurt Busch (-180) complete the top ten.
There were 10 cautions for 33 laps and 50 lead changes among 20 drivers.