TALLADEGA, Ala. — It was typical Talladega Superspeedway carnage that ended Sunday’s Good Sam Road Assistance 500.
A multi-car crash ended the race on the final lap of a green-white-checkered finish with Matt Kenseth scored the winner and Tony Stewart flying through the air upside down just as it looked like he would win the event. The majority of the field was collected in the accident on the final straightaway at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Stewart was in the lead when he was hammered from behind by Michael Waltrip spinning him in front of the field with Kenseth sailing into the lead. With the yellow flag waving, Kenseth was scored the leader as the rest of the field slammed into the crashing cars of Stewart, Waltrip, Casey Mears and Kevin Harvick.
“Clint and I got together a little bit on the backstretch,” said Kenseth, who won the Daytona 500 earlier this year. “I don’t know if that was my bad and we weren’t exactly all the way clear or what happened there, but that really slowed the group and we got a big lead, which typically isn’t good here. 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.”
Stewart, meanwhile, took blame for the accident.
“I just screwed up. I turned down across Michael,” he said. “It was my fault. I was blocking, trying to keep the lead and win the race. Michael got a great run and I turned down across the right front of his car. It was my fault and it cost a lot of people there at the end.”
Jeff Gordon finished second with Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Regan Smith filling the top five.
“I didn’t see anything but Kasey Kahne’s rear bumper,” Gordon said of the finish. “That was the craziest finish I have ever experienced here at Talladega and for once we came out on the good side of it.”
More than 20 cars were involved in the last-lap incident, including most of the contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Brad Keselowski extended his championship lead to 14 points over Jimmie Johnson. Both drivers were involved in the accident, but Keselowski kept his damaged mount rolling and was scored seventh.
There were 57 lead changes among 18 drivers and only four yellow flags.