Talladega from start to finish!
Talladega once again delivered exactly what we have come to expect from restrictor plate races. 183 laps of nothing and a brutally messy finish. Jamie McMurray earned the win and Jimmie Johnson likely put the 2009 Chase out of reach as each of his main competitors had problems.
Qualifying was rained out on Saturday so the Chase leaders were all lined up at the front of the field for the start. Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Juan Montoya were lined up at the head of the pack for the green flag.
Drop Of The Green
The inside line moved first and Jimmie Johnson lead down the backstretch. Mark Martin and the outside line got a big run and moved past in turn three. When they crossed the stripe to complete lap one Mark Martin and Tony Stewart were out front.
The leaders quickly scattered and by the first caution on lap five there were Chasers spread throughout the field. Kurt Busch showed some early strength along with David Reutimann, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon.
Chase leader Jimmie Johnson had fallen all the way to 36th by lap 14.
The first 183 laps were pretty safe. Then with five laps to go Ryan Newman got together with Marcos Ambrose, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and others. Newman flipped upside down in turn three landing on Harvick's hood and spinning upside down into the wall.
After the track crews took their time and cautiously freed Newman from his car Ryan was able to climb out on his own and is fine.
Thankfully all of NASCAR's safety innovations worked and Ryan will race again next week.
Chasing The Checkers
The red flag for Ryan Newman set up a green-white-checkers Talladega finish. Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and others had to dive onto pit road for fuel.
Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano brought the field to the green. After riding in the back all race long Jimmie Johnson found himself in ninth for the final restart.
McMurray lead the first lap but when the white flag flew "The Big One" came behind him. McMurray got the win while Mark Martin ended up on his roof.
Fortunately Mark is ok but Jimmie Johnson stretched his point lead even further with another top ten finish while Martin, Gordon, Stewart, Newman, Hamlin and Kurt Busch all had problems during the race.
Jimmie Johnson miraculously finished up front once again while his Chase competitors had troubles. Jimmmie now has a seemingly insurmountable lead with just three races remaining.
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