Jeff Burton Retains Lead in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points; Five Impala SS Drivers in Top-12 Standings; Chevrolet Stays On Top of Manufacturers' Cup Standings Team Chevy Impala SS Contenders Eliminated in Final Lap Crash in Aaron's 499 at ...
Jeff Burton Retains Lead in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points; Five Impala SS Drivers in Top-12 Standings; Chevrolet Stays On Top of Manufacturers' Cup Standings
Team Chevy Impala SS Contenders Eliminated in Final Lap Crash in Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, Alabama: With 10 laps to go in the 188-lap Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (TSS), Team Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, Casey Mears, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS, Clint Bowyer, No. 07 DIRECTV Impala SS, Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT & T Impala SS and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS had put themselves in position to be contenders for the victory.
However, coming out of turn two on the final lap of the race, two simultaneous, but separate incidents started a chain reaction that damaged at least 11 cars and ended the race at that point in the NASCAR scoring loop, per the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) rule book.
Mears cleared the accident to finish seventh, while Bowyer snuck through the debris to be scored ninth in the final finishing order. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS, finished 10th by snaking his way through the melee, despite sustaining damage in a multi-car accident on lap 175 that ended his changes for victory. Earnhardt Jr. led 12 times during the race for a total of 46 laps.
Burton continues as the NSCS points leader with a 12th place finish despite receiving damage in the "Big One".
Johnson, defending NSCS champion, finished 13th with Paul Menard, No. 15 Menard's Impala SS, finishing 14th.
Gordon was scored in the 19th finishing position and Harvick was awarded the 24th spot in the final order.
Pole sitter Joe Nemechek, No. 78 National Day of Prayer Impala SS, finished 25th.
A total of five Team Chevy drivers are in the thick of the battle for the top-12 in the standings with nine races in the books. Earnhardt Jr. is third, Johnson sits fourth. Harvick and Bowyer are sixth and seventh respectively.
Chevrolet continues to lead the NSCS Manufacturers' Cup standings in pursuit of its 32nd title.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 13th:
"We were in a good position toward the end but got there just a little too early. The No. 55 (Michael Waltrip) and I were working well together but I think he blew up at the end there with me pushing him. We got some damage on the last lap, but we came out okay today in the Lowe's Impala SS."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 DIRECTV IMPALA SS -- Finished 9th
"We're all pretty excited about that finish for the DIRECTV Chevrolet. We hung around all day like we needed to and went racing at the end. I wish I could have stayed on the bottom at the end but someone would have wrecked me. After I crashed in the Nationwide race on Saturday, I'm excited to get out of here in one piece. To get a top-10 is even better."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, Finished 37th:
NOTE: Truex caught up in multi-car accident on lap 174: "It is Talladega, man. You know, you get to the end and guys do things that shouldn't do. Try to fit in holes they shouldn't fit it. It's just typical here.
"It is boring for a while. It is too boring for awhile and then people are too stupid at the end, so there is really no reason. It just sucks sitting in the garage with 10 to go looking at a good finish. We had a good car all day. It is just Talladega.
"The only time two cars could go to the front was if one of them was a Toyota in that two-car pack. That is what it looked like to me every time it happened. One of the cars was either the No. 11 or the No. 20. That is what it looked like to me, but not real sure. I had a lot of fun out there like I said until 20 to go. There was almost a couple of wrecks before the one I was in, so, guys just lose their heads. They lose their cool at the end and start doing things they shouldn't do and it is uncalled for. These are supposedly the best drivers in the world, that shouldn't be happening."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, Finished 19th:
"I just couldn't make a good decision all day long. I just made bad decisions left and right. Finally got ourselves right there in position to be awesome. They told me about the run coming. I saw Juan Pablo (Montoya) coming and it looked like they had a pretty good run. I tried to go up there and use that line. It was just too early. I should have stayed down low and waited it out another half of a lap. With this new package, it is just bumper cars. You are just getting beat to heck around every corner, every straightaway. You just keep going straight. You certainly have to wait for a very long time. Sometimes you can wait too long and sometimes you go too early and today we went to early.
"I knew Jimmie (Johnson) was back there, and I thought if that he was behind me (he could help), but I think he was further back there behind Michael (Waltrip).
"I just went too early. I should have just stayed behind Kyle just a little bit longer. I could have passed him. It is just waiting for the push and if the push comes; I thought that might be the one to take. When I did, I knew I was in big trouble."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 12th:
"That was definitely a wild finish. We were involved in that wreck on the last lap and ended up cutting a tire but I was able to limp across the finish line. We got caught up one lap down and got back on the lead lap. Our car was fast in the draft and I'm just glad we were able to finish the race."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, Finished 7th:
"Everyone was going three, four-wide and it just kind of packed up everybody. I just stayed on the bottom and people kept getting shuffled out and shuffled out. We came home with a good finish at the end. This is a lot of fun. I like racing at these race tracks. I have a good time with it. We played it real conservative all day and just kind of rode around in the back and tried to stay out of trouble. Fortunately it paid off for us. It was a good finish for the Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet."
ARIC ALMIROLA, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS -- Finished 33rd: Note: Suffered flat tire on Lap 51 and soon after was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty.
"It's really disappointing because the U.S. Army Chevy Impala SS was strong from the start. I felt good in the car, I could pass and it was a lot of fun out there. But the tire issue and the pit-road speeding penalty pretty much killed our day. We'll bounce back. We're like our soldiers -- we never quit."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, Finished 24th:
"We were in a good pack moving up in the field there at the end then we got caught in the big wreck on the last lap. Wish we had a better finish but it could be much, much worse. Todd (Berrier, crew chief) and the guys on this Shell/Pennzoil team gave me a good car and got me in and out of the pits with awesome stops all day. We lost a few points, but we will be ok and just head for Richmond."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS, Finished 10th:
"I was hating it there for Tony (Stewart) that he got that flat tire and got in the crash and all. I was upset because we had worked so hard there at the end to stay together. It would have been a nice finish and he would have finished up there with me there at the end.
"Getting another top-10 is something to be really proud of. If you look at my career over the last several years, we are definitely in a better position. It would be foolish for us not to appreciate the good things we have going for us and not get frustrated and decide you aren't running good or try to figure out why you aren't running good. The wins will come. I know that. I want them to and we are going to have to keep talking about it until they do. Congratulations to Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch on their win, they had a good car today.
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING TO RICHMOND: "We have had some great success there. With Tony, Jr's (Eury) help and Hendrick motors, we are going to run good again. I don't think there isn't a race on the circuit that we shouldn't show up and not run like we have been running every week. There really isn't. We will just have to keep trying to get that win. At least we didn't come in on the hook today."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 78 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER/FURNITURE ROW RACING IMPALA SS (Finished 25th)
"Our No. 78 National Day of Prayer Chevy Impala SS was good today. After taking the white flag, I was looking for a top-10 finish. But then came the wreck. I thought I had it missed, but at the last second the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) came across my hood. Yeah, we're a little frustrated right now, but looking at the big picture it was a solid weekend for the Furniture Row Racing team. We qualified on the pole and had a solid performance in the race."
-credit: gm racing