Talladega Race Report
• No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th and is eighth in NASCAR’s
Chase for the Sprint Cup 48 points out of the lead.
• No. 15 5-hour Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished 23rd and is fifth in NASCAR’s Chase for the
Sprint Cup 40 points out of the lead.
• No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Michael Waltrip finished 25th. The No. 55 is 14th in
CHASE STANDINGS (After 4 of 10 races)
1 Brad Keselowski 2179 Leader
2 Jimmie Johnson 2165 -14
3 Denny Hamlin 2156 -23
4 Kasey Kahne 2143 -36
5 Clint Bowyer 2139 -40
6 Jeff Gordon 2137 -42
7 Tony Stewart 2133 -46
8 Martin Truex Jr. 2131 -48
9 Greg Biffle 2130 -49
10 Kevin Harvick 2130 -49
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2128 -51
12 Matt Kenseth 2117 -62
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started ninth and raced at the front of the field in the early going. In the second half of the race Truex drifted to the back of the pack to dodge any crashes that could damage his championship bid. In the final green-white-checkered finish Truex started midpack, but it wasn’t safe enough. A 20-car accident included the NAPA Toyota leaving it damaged but drivable. Unlike several others, the No. 56 made it to the finish line and secured the 13th-place finish. The NAPA AUTO PARTS team returns to action Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup. Truex will start the fifth of the 10-race Chase in eighth just 48 points out of first.
• Started ninth and finished 13th.
• Raced as high as sixth in the early going.
• Raced toward the back of the pack until the end.
• Nearly made it through the last lap accident.
• Now eighth in Chase trailing leader by 48 points.
TRUEX: “Stuff flying everywhere. Just a Talladega deal, you know? Everybody waits until the end, you get a run, it’s time to go, you can’t lift, everybody just runs into everybody and you’re kind of bouncing around out there like ping pong balls. We almost made it through. The very last car -- I got all the way through and the very last car came up off the apron spinning and just hit me in the door and spun me and I had to get spun around and keep going. Didn’t destroy the car like normally here, so we got through there pretty clean. Just gave up a couple of spots getting spun out, having to stop, spin around and get going again.”
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished 23rd in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started third and raced to the lead by lap eight and lap 12. Bowyer purposely dropped back in the pack until the last 25 laps when he started to work his way back to the front. Bowyer regained the lead on lap 182 and into position to win following a caution on lap 184. The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota led the field to green for the final restart. Contact with Matt Kenseth’s car shuffled him back into the pack he was caught in “the big one” on the last lap. He could not reach the finish line. Bowyer and the 5-hour ENERGY team return to action Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the fifth of NASCAR’S 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup. Bowyer is fifth in the Chase 40 points out of first.
• Started third and finished 23rd
• Led three times and looked to be in position to win the race.
• Couldn’t avoid 20-car wreck on the final lap
• Fifth in Championship point standings 40 behind leader Keselowski
• The No. 15 carried a special paint scheme honoring its new Pink Lemonade flavor and the Avon
Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade
What happened in the ‘big one’? “Yeah, it was just too bad. We had a good car and was patient all day long. Got in position. The caution came out and that’s just Talladega. That’s why we all come out and watch. I wish this thing -- we need to shorten this race up, because it’s all waiting to see what happens right there at the end anyway. They had a good run on us on the outside. Kevin (Harvick) and I got broke apart and he couldn’t stay with me. Like I said, we were in position to win. We just didn’t win.”
What caused the accident? “The 14 (Tony Stewart) -- he hung a pretty hard left on Michael (Waltrip) there. It turned him and kind of wrecked everybody, but he did what he had to do. It looked like the 14 come down to block the 55 (Waltrip) and got turned and crashed us all. It was just a shame. I got myself in the right situation where I wanted to be. Just didn’t win. I’m not going to let it get us down. We certainly needed a better run than that. Unfortunately, didn’t get it.”
Michael Waltrip Race Summary: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Michael Waltrip finished 25th in Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Waltrip started 11th and raced in the middle to the back of the pack throughout most of the race. As the end drew close Waltrip made his way to the front. On the final lap Waltrip dove under Tony Stewart in the fourth turn in a battle for the lead and the likely race win. But the two cars made contact triggering a massive 20-car accident. The Aaron’s Dream Machine slammed into the wall leaving Waltrip with the 25th-place finish. The No. 55 returns to action Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Mark Martin behind the wheel of the Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota.
• Qualified 11th and finished 25th.
• Waltrip appeared like he would be the race winner.
• Waltrip and Tony Stewart made contact battling for the lead on the final corner of the race.
• No drivers were hurt in the 20-car accident that followed.
• The No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine carried a special paint scheme in tribute to Aaron’s founder
• Mark Martin returns to the No. 55 Saturday at Charlotte.
WALTRIP: “What happened on the final lap? “ We just did a great job. Rodney Childers, our crew chief of the Aaron’s Dream Machine had me in a position to win. I felt really comfortable with being on the inside and I felt happy with who I was with and we pushed our way through. I wasn’t totally stable anyway with the big push I guess it was (Casey) Mears was giving me and then when I went to turn down lower on Tony (Stewart) it got a little loose and then the crash. I talked to Tony. You know, when you don’t do this all the time people are quick to point their fingers at you, but Tony’s said, ‘I’m sorry, friend, that was all on me,’ and that means a lot. I couldn’t bare causing something like that. I had my foot on the floor board for sure and I was getting pushed as hard as I could go. I thought somehow maybe I was going to win one more of these things and that was going to be special. Heck, that’s the way it goes.”
How disappointed are you? “It’s pretty much a buzz kill when you get crashed on the last lap and you’re not able to finish. I can’t take it, it’s too much pressure on me as an owner and as a guy that’s the front man for the team. If I caused something -- I just have to race defensively not to cause anything. Heck, on the last lap I thought maybe I was going to squirt though. I don’t blame Tony at all because anybody in the world would have had to block like that. That’s what you had to do on the last lap. I was hauling ass.”
• Matt Kenseth won the race.
• Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five finishers.
• The race took two hours and 56 minutes.
• The race featured 54 lead changes among 18 drivers.
• Five cautions slowed the race for 17 laps.
• NASCAR estimated the attendance at 88,000
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC
NAME: Michael Waltrip
HOMETOWN: Owensboro, KY
RESIDENCE: Huntersville, NC