NASCAR: Tony Stewart Wins at Talladega
The Nationwide Series headed to Talladega, Alabama, this weekend for their second plate race of the season.
Tony Stewart started on the pole with Mike Bliss along side. Stewart led the race until lap 7 when Brad Keselowski took over the top spot. Keselowski is driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the nationwide series and has been doing a solid job all season.
Keselowski would continue to lead when the first caution flag of the race came out on lap 11 for a cut tire by Dario Franchitti. This accident also included the points leader Clint Bowyer and Larry Gunselman. Franchitti would be taken to a hospital for precautionary measures. Franchitti would end up finishing in the 41st position.
The caution flag allowed all the leaders to come down pit road for the first time to get fresh tires and fuel. Keselowski would hold serve and keep the lead out of the pits.
After the restart thought, Keselowski would be passed by Jason Leffler who took the lead on lap 18. Shortly after, the second caution of the race came out for a cut tire on Scott Wimmer's car.
After the green flag waved once again Stewart took the lead back with a push by Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on lap 26. Stewart held the lead until another caution came out on lap 43 for a spin by Eric McClure off turn four. The leaders again came to pit road with Stewart holding the lead.
Stewart was still the leader until Earnhardt got a push from Reed Sorenson and blew by Stewart for the lead on lap 50. Earnhardt would lead until the caution waved for a spin by David Ragan off turn two slowed the field. The leaders would all come down pit road with Stewart beating Earnhardt off to retake the lead.
The restart waved with 51 laps remaining in the race. Stewart was still the leader when the big one finally happened down in turn one. The big one happened when the lap car of Kevin Lepage came up in front of the lead pack. Carl Edwards slammed right into the back of Lepage causing his car to go air borne. The accident claimed 16 cars including Lepage, Edwards, Steve Wallace, Mike Wallace, Kenny Wallace, Kelly Bires, David Reutimann, Cale Gale, Kyle Busch, Leicht, Sorenson, Ambrose, Keselowski, Krisiloff, Carpentier, and Jason Keller.
The race was red flagged and was finally restarted with 43 laps to go. Stewart continued to lead the race in the final laps until a caution for debris came out with just 5 laps remaining.
Stewart had his hands full on the restart with Earnhardt in second and Biffle in third. Earnhardt let Stewart get a lead on him so he and Biffle could draft by Stewart for the lead on the final lap. Earnhardt was side by side with Stewart heading into turn three but no one went with Jr. and Stewart went on to take the checkered flag. It was Stewart's first win at Talladega in his career.
The top ten finishers were Stewart, David Stremme, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Leffler, Mark Green, Earnhardt, Bliss, Carpentier, Wimmer, and Mike Wallace. Some notable finishes include Kertus Davis who finished in 12th place, Morgan Shepherd who finished in 13th place, and Clint Bowyer who finished in 25th place after being involved in an accident. The top three in the point standings continue to be Bowyer, Edwards, and Busch.
I just want to give a shout out to Morgan Shepherd who finished in the 13th position today. Shepherd is 66 years old and is still competing each and every week in the nationwide series. Shepherd has no sponsor and doesn't have the equipment that all the other drivers have to compete with, but Morgan showed everyone today that he can still drive a race car just as good as anyone else.
Talladega is now in the history books and we can all look forward to short track racing at its finest in Richmond next weekend.
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