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Bowyer wins 'Dega as Chase stars stumble

Dave Blaney held on to third place with the help of Brad Keselowski, while the Red Bull duo of Vickers and Kahne came in a strong fifth and sixth respectively in what could be one of the last outings for the team before it's wound up at the end of the year if no buyer can be found for the operation. Tony Stewart finished in seventh place just ahead of Denny Hamlin, the only two Chase drivers other than Keselowski to make it into the top ten at the end of what had proved a very costly race for the championship hopefuls.

Carl Edwards had looked poised to make a successful late-race run, but it didn't pay off and a decision to come in for a tyre change under the final caution didn't reward him with the extra pace he needed to do better than 11th. But with so much ill-fortune hitting his main rivals, staying out of trouble had rewarded him with an impressive 14pt lead atop the points standings.

"That was a heck of a day for teamwork, Greg did an unbelievable job of sticking with me and we get to come out of here extending our points lead, which is good," he said, sounding relieved to have the superspeedway in the rear view mirror. "I am pleased that we are able to get out of here with the points lead intact because you just never know what can happen here and to extend it is just great."

Matt Kenseth is now the closest chalenge to him in the points but had been hoping for better than 18th place at Talladega. "It was a frustrating that we ran up there most the day. David [Ragan] was a great drafting partner and he broke something on the last restart, broke something in his engine. I had to try to find somebody with two laps to go and that is hard."

Kenseth had ended up working with Trevor Bayne in the dying minutes of the race - which frustrated Jeff Gordon, who thought he had a deal in place with Bayne to draft to the end of the race, only to be left high and dry. Bayne had wanted to hook-up with his childhood hero, but subsequently got overruled by the team who were playing the manufacturer solidarity card with a three line whip over their drivers to keep it in the Ford family, and ordered Bayne to switch to Kenseth instead.

"I didn't expect him to commit to me on the radio," admitted Gordon of his initial appeal to Bayne. "I expected him to say, 'Man, I'm sorry; I can't.' And when he said, 'Yeah, I'm pushing you, we're good,' I believed him. But I think they had a different plan."

"I'm as upset it turned out that way as anyone," Bayne later said on Twitter, explaining that "at that time [when I agreed to work with Gordon,] Matt and David were supposed to be working together. I had no idea what was coming.

"That's why I'm so sick about all this. I won't race restrictor plate races next year before I'm put in that situation," he continued. "I'm not happy about what this has become... It's too premeditated. We should be able to go with whoever is around is."

"Well I just find it odd," said a still-unhappy Gordon after Bayne visited the former Cup champion in his garage after the race to explain what had happened. "I just think it could have been handled better. If somebody is going to screw you, you'd like them to say it to your face you know? Or, at least on the radio! ... I would have been totally fine with that and understood."

Gordon ended up in a trio of poor-finishing Hendrick Chase contenders with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 25th, Jimmie Johnson in 26th and Gordon himself just behind in 27th, results that seem to confirm that all three are out of contention for the 2011 championship - even five-time Chase winner Johnson.




Related Pictures

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Earnhardt-Gannasi Racing teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray battle Red Bull Racing teammates Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers during the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. [Photo credit: NASCAR Media]
Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch are among six cars involved in a Lap 104 accident. [Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Regan Smith crashes into the wall triggering a five-car accident involving Mark Martin, Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin and Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 181. [Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Joey Logano leads a pack early during the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. [Photo Credit: NASCAR Media]
Mark Martin leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag to start the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. [Photo credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Clint Bowyer celebrates winning the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, his second straight fall win at the track. [Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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