Tony Stewart’s spin triggered a massive wreck during the final lap of the fourth round of NASCAR’s “Chase for the Sprint Cup,” in Alabama. The benefactor was Matt Kenseth, who pulled away as Stewart went airborne, to win the race.
Stewart was in the lead heading into Turn 3, at Talladega Superspeedway, with Kenseth close behind. Stewart dipped down on the track and Michael Waltrip could do nothing but drive into Stewart’s car, sending him into a spin that took out 25 cars. With Stewart’s car airborne, Kenseth, who had taken the high road, sped away from the chaos behind him.
“I don’t know what happened. I saw Tony’s back bumper. I saw him getting spun out. We were clear of him,” said Kenseth, recalling the events leading up to a clear run for the checkered flag at the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 on Sunday. “I looked in the mirror and there was nobody back there.”
Kenseth said he simply slowed down and cruised to take the checkered flag. Jeff Gordon finished second in the race and Kyle Busch was third.
Stewart, the reigning Sprint Car champion, readily accepted the blame for the wild finish to the race.
“I just screwed up,” he said. “I turned down across—I think it was Michael—and crashed the whole field.”
Other drivers reacted to the wreck with disbelief.
“A car flew over the top of my car as I turned to the bottom and missed guys by three inches,” said Greg Biffle. “It was like Days of Thunder coming through the smoke and the grass. It was the craziest thing I’ve been involved in—in my life.”
Brad Keselowski, who currently leads the Chase for the Sprint Cupstandings, said, “I just feel lucky to survive Talladega.”
“If this was how we raced every week, I’d find another job,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. concluded.
At the end of the day, the wreck and wild finish of the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 had little impact on the Chase for the Sprint Cup. After four races, Keselowski is still 14 points clear of Jimmie Johnson and 23 ahead of Denny Hamlin.
Round five in the hunt for NASCAR’s top-level championship, the Bank of America 500, is next on the schedule. The race runs under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in North Carolina, in Saturday, Oct. 13.