21 October 2013
McMurray wins as Dillon takes off at 'Dega
It might not have been the traditional multi-car 'Big One', but what it lacked in numbers in made up for in appalling spectacle as the #14 was flipped clean up into the air by the contact. The view was quite something, according to Dillon.
"It was pretty wild," he said. "I was watching cars just going underneath - it was just like the cool roller-coaster ride that you had an overview ... You know that camera that zooms over the start-finish line? That's what it felt like with craziness going under you."
Amazingly, not only wasn't Dillon hurt by his daring act with the flying stock car, he was even able to drive the wrecked car back to pit road - although he admitted over the team radio that there wasn't much left that would be usable in the future: "It was fun. I brought you the wheel back. That's about it."
The yellows were out immediately as NASCAR reacted to what initially looked like a worryingly serious accident and send out the medical and safety teams to attend to Dillon - happily unneeded as it turned out. But the yellow meant that anyone with any plans for a last-minute move was well and truly thwarted.
So who did that leave out in front? Following the final round of pit stops, Kyle Busch had claimed the top spot and initially fought off a challenge from Carl Edwards, but then with 15 laps to go to the finish Jamie McMurray had found himself in clear air wondering where everyone had gone. The answer was that they were behind him, and he liked the view so much that he kept it right up to the moment that the yellows for Dillon's accident froze the field and finished the race.
"It just seemed the top was the better place to get hung out than if you got hung out on the bottom, fortunately I was able to get myself in position," said McMurray in victory lane after the race, celebrating his first win in three years. He said he'd been aware of Earnhardt preparing for a last lap strike with the help of Dillon and Menard, and that he didn't know if he'd have been able to repel the assault if it has actually come off.
"You just have to make your car as wide as you can," he said. "Quite honestly, I don't know what I was going to do. With ten laps left to go I kind of thought that it wasn't reality yet, then with five to go I could tell he [Earnhardt] was being patient. Then when they could never get the bottom line to form I knew it was going to come down to the first three or four cars. It's unfortunate that the caution came out, but for me - I don't know how I was going to defend that."
Earnhardt finished in second place just ahead of Stenhouse and Menard, with Kyle Busch in fifth position ahead of Front Row Motorsports duo David Ragan and David Gilliland - who last time at Talladega in May had pulled off a shock one-two victory with Ragan clinching the win. This might not have been a repeat success of the same magnitude, but it showed that the spring race was no fluke.
"We set out what we wanted to do with our SaferCar.gov Ford," said Ragan. "We had a chance to win the race, took the white flag in seventh or eighth and kind of had a good plan but the caution came out. So we got a top 10 finish and that's a good thing for our Front Row Motorsports team."
Martin Truex Jr. finished in eighth ahead of half a dozen Chase contenders that included Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
Tagged as: Kyle Busch , Marcos Ambrose , Kasey Kahne , Matt Kenseth , cup , Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Juan-Pablo Montoya , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Denny Hamlin , David Ragan , Paul Menard , Casey Mears , Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
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