Kenseth escapes last lap carnage for Talladega 500 victory

Matt Kenseth claimed the top spot in his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford as more than 20 cars wrecked en route to the checkered flag to claim the win in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday.

Unofficial race results soon after the last-lap wreck had Jeff Gordon finishing second in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch in third.

"I didn't see anything, but Kasey Kahne's rear bumper," Gordon said of his view just before the end. "I really have no idea how we made it to the white flag."

It was Gordon's second-straight second-place finish. "That's like a win," he said.

Start: Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet lead the field
Start: Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet lead the field

Photo by: Getty Images

Kenseth was among the drivers who ran near the front most of the race. Other drivers who were mainstays up front were Jamie McMurray in the No. 1 Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet, Greg Biffle in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Clint Bowyer in the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota and Casey Mears in the No. 13 Germain Racing Ford.

"It was pretty darn fast," Kenseth said of his car. "Restrictor plate racing isn't a lot about the driver."

Tony Stewart's No. 15 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet was the race leader just before the incident, but in attempting to block, he made contact with the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, being driven at Talladega by car owner Michael Waltrip, and that started the chain reaction that collected cars from throughout the running order.

"It was my fault blocking, trying to stay where I was at," Stewart said.

Stewart had just inched ahead of Kenseth to take the lead. "I had got out there too far," Kenseth said of the reason Stewart got a run on him.

Last lap crash: Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet upside down
Last lap crash: Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet upside down

Photo by: Getty Images

Others involved in the incident included Bobby Labonte in the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Ford and three Hendrick Motorsports drivers -- Kasey Kahne in the No. 5 Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 -- among many others.

Despite making contact with a few cars while getting through the wreck, David Ragan was credited with a fourth-place finish in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, and Regan Smith was fifth in his last race behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

The yellow flag waved four times throughout the race, with the biggest incident prior to the last-lap wreck being a three car accident involving the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Joey Logano and the No. 33 Circle Sport Racing Chevrolet of Cole Whitt.

On-track action was calm enough to warrant a round of green-flag pit stops around lap 60. Earnhardt, Busch and Trevor Bayne in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford were all caught speeding on pit road and went a lap down serving their penalties.

All three ended up getting their laps back, and Busch and Earnhardt looked to be in contention to win in the closing laps. Busch was able to make it through the last-lap activity to post a top-three showing, but Earnhardt was not. "Great race for us and our team," Busch said.

After sustaining heavy damage, Earnhardt wound up outside the top-10.

With an unofficial seventh-place finish, Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge, was able to extend his points lead on Johnson to an unofficial 14 points with six races remaining in the season.

See the video of the last lap crash right here:

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Trevor Bayne , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Regan Smith , Clint Bowyer , Brad Keselowski , David Ragan , Joey Logano , Cole Whitt , Kyle Busch
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing , Team Penske , Furniture Row Racing , Germain Racing , Hendrick Motorsports , Front Row Motorsports , Roush Fenway Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , Wood Brothers Racing , Leavine Family Racing
Article type Race report
Tags busch, chevrolet, crash, featured, ford, gordon, kenseth, stewart, talladega, toyota