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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]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finishes in fourteenth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 taxslayer.com Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 taxslayer.com Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 taxslayer.com Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 taxslayer.com Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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