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2013 Talladega NASCAR: Smith wins eventful Nationwide race

A three-hour rain delay left Saturday's Nationwide race chasing fading light, which contributed to two late multi-car wrecks from which Regan Smith emerged victorious.
For several minutes after the end of the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, no one quite knew who had won - only that it was a matter of last man standing, after two late multi-car wrecks had wiped out large swathes of the field.

The race had been delayed by almost three hours by the rain that had earlier washed-out Cup qualifying. Finally X-Games star Travis Pastrana led the field to the green flag, having previously won his first ever Nationwide Series pole position in just his 17th race: with Trevor Bayne's drafting assistance he stayed out in front for four laps, before resuming Plan A by heading to the relative safety of the rear of the field.

The first caution of the race was on lap 13 after a miscommunication with her inexperienced Turner Motorsports team mate Kyle Larson resulted in Danica Patrick being spun out onto the grass, a trip that damaged the rear of the #34 car into retirement. Larson would hit problems of his own on lap 35 with a violent left rear blow-out that ripped up a large amount of bodywork.

Drafting pairs soon formed: Joe Gibbs Racing duo Elliot Sadler and Brian Vickers; Sprint Cup regulars Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne pairing up; Reed Sorenson working with Justin Allgaier; Sam Hornish Jr. with Regan Smith; Alex Bowman pushing Parker Kligerman; while Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers pulled off an audacious high line to go around the others to the front.

Rashly abandoning their safety-first Plan A, Travis Pastrana rejoined the battle and pushed Trevor Bayne to the lead at the halfway point, but the pair had cause to regret getting themselves involving themselves back at the front when Pastrana got soundly collected by a spinning Sorenson who had got turned by Brain Scott on lap 72.

A fourth caution came out on lap 88 after Blake Koch was hooked into the wall by Allgaier, just as a hint of renewed light rain teased the circuit and the light started to dip alarmingly fast. The combination of circumstances sparked a sense of panic among the drivers who all crowded for the lead with increased fervour just in case the race was called early, and the result was the proverbial 'Big One' on lap 94 triggered when Nationwide points leader Hornish moved down across the front of Eric McClure and ended up being spun into the wall.

In total over a dozen cars were involved in the aftermath, many of them sustaining serious damage, and the clean-up delay forced NASCAR to shorten the race by ten laps because of the encroaching darkness.

Only recently back on the lead lap after early spark plug problems, Austin Dillon had just been propelled into the lead by Joey Logano when Joey Coulter got spun out of fifth place into the wall off the front of Justin Allgaier's car. That set up a final green-white-chequered finish, with Dillon trying to break away for the win but then getting hunted down by Kurt Busch with Brian Vickers' assistance.

As the cars swept through the final turn more mayhem broke out as everyone floored the accelerator and went for it. Kahne was fractionally across the line first, but with the dust still settling a NASCAR review of the confused climax placed Regan Smith ahead of Logano when the yellow flags had come out.

That gave Smith not only the race win, but also a newly-minted 27 point lead in the championship standings over Hornish.

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Nationwide Series championship standings are available.



Related Pictures

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Danica Patrick, driver of the #34 AccuDoc Solutions / GoDaddy Chevrolet, pits after she suffered damage to her car during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron`s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the #79 Fast Wax / Oath Keepers Ford, is involved in an incident in turn three during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron`s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, celebrates with his crew in victory lane after he won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron`s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, crosses the finish first ahead of Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron`s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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