Kenseth scores the win at Talladega in wild finish

[media-credit id=100 align=”alignright” width=”222″][/media-credit]Matt Kenseth scores a much needed victory in the Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance 500 by avoiding a last lap crash triggered by contact between Tony Stewart and Micheal Waltrip.

After a clean and calm race, but the “big one” finally came on the final turn of the final lap. In an interview immediately following the race, Stewart took full responsibility for the crash saying he came down on Waltrip trying to protect his position.

“I just looked in my mirror and saw them coming at me three-wide. I kind of let Tony have his spot there. It didn’t look like he had a big push behind him and lined up with Kevin and we pretty much stayed locked together there until we got to turn three and I thought it was gonna be a drag race to the finish. I didn’t know what was gonna happen and I’m still not sure what happened. Somehow I think Tony got turned and caused a big wreck.” Kenseth said.

Waltrip, however, says “I don’t blame Tony at all.” going on to say anyone else leading would have done the same thing.

“I just screwed up. I turned down and cut across Michael and crashed the whole field. It was my fault, blocking and trying to stay where I was at.” Stewart said.

Kenseth and his Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle ran strong for most of the day.with Kenseth leading three times for a total of 33 laps. After a a poor start in the Chase, this strong run was just what they needed to regain some momentum for the remainder of the Chase. The downside for the No.17 team is that points leader Brad Keselowski finished a solid seventh and only lost ten points to the winner Kenseth leaving a distant 62 points back.

Jeff Gordon also made it through the carnage unscathed giving him three top three finishes out of four Chase races, but he too only gained five points on the leader Keselowski, he did however gain four spots in the standings.

A long list of Chase contenders including Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr were all involved in the last lap crash and took hits in the points.

“If this was what we did every week, I wouldn’t be doing it. I’ll just put it to you that way. If this was how we raced every week, I’d find another job. That’s what the package is doing. It’s really not racing. It’s a little disappointing. It cost a lot of money right there.” Earnhardt Jr. said.

Keselowski now has a solid 14 point lead over Johnson and six more back to Hamlin. They have now separated themselves from the rest of the Chase drivers, and seemingly will be the three that contend for the 2012 title.

“That’s pretty big. I just feel lucky to survive Talladega.” Keselowski said.

Unofficial Race Results
Good Sam 500, Talladega Superspeedway
Pos. St. No. Driver Make Points
1 15 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 47
2 6 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 43
3 13 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 42
4 25 34 David Ragan Ford 41
5 5 16 Greg Biffle Ford 40
6 28 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 38
7 22 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 37
8 36 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 37
9 2 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 35
10 26 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 35
11 23 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 33
12 9 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 32
13 1 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 32
14 21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 31
15 32 38 David Gilliland Ford 29
16 31 32 Terry Labonte Ford 28
17 17 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 28
18 40 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 26
19 8 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 0
20 18 43 Aric Almirola Ford 24
21 12 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 24
22 4 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 23
23 3 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 22
24 10 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 0
25 11 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 19
26 19 13 Casey Mears Ford 19
27 20 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 18
28 16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 16
29 39 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 15
30 38 83 Landon Cassill Toyota 14
31 34 98 Michael McDowell Ford 13
32 14 20 Joey Logano Toyota 12
33 30 30 David Stremme Toyota 11
34 24 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 12
35 43 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet 0
36 7 99 Carl Edwards Ford 8
37 41 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet 7
38 27 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 6
39 29 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 6
40 42 33 Cole Whitt Chevrolet 0
41 37 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 0
42 35 97 Timmy Hill Toyota 2
43 33 26 Josh Wise * Ford 1

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Roger Holtsclaw
Roger Holtsclaw
Roger has over 24 years experience as a mechanic and crew member in NASCAR at many levels including Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series. He has also competed as a driver at many short tracks around the Southeast including one start the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Series. Roger is now embarking on a motorsports journalism and photography career and is co-owner of HMP Photo. Follow me on Twitter @rogerholtsclaw Email me:



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