Talladega has always been known for its door to door action, big wrecks, and surprise winners. Sunday's Aaron 499 lived up to all of that and more.
It was a perfect race day under the clear Alabama skies as 43 drivers took the green in hopes of capturing the win and check their box for the Chase.
It didn't take long for the drivers to get two, three and sometimes four wide as we typically expect at Talladega but, that usually leads to the next characteristic of the 2.66 mile superspeedway which is the big wrecks.
The last caution came at the drop of the white flag as a multicar wreck blocked the race track on the last lap causing NASCAR to throw the yellow and checkered with a half lap to go.
Denny Hamlin was in front at the time and captured his first Talladega win of his career.
"They knew that there was debris at the start-finish line, so we weren't going to be able to race all the way back no matter what," said the race winner. "But they at least gave everyone a half a lap to do whatever you could to make your positions and improve your positions."
Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer finished second and third and both wished that the race would have run all the way back to the line.
"I wish I would have known we weren't going to race all the way back," said a disappointed Biffle. "But it was a good day for us. The car was really fast, a lot of speed, and just happy to come out of here with a clean car."
Bowyer saw the wreck in his mirror and knew that his day was done and he would have to settle for a good points day instead of a win.
"It's a wild situation," said Bowyer regarding the last wreck. "It was kind of funny, we all see the smoke and it was 400 yards behind us. We're supposed to be looking out the windshield."
Hamlin's team has not been hitting on all cylinders since he had to set out at California but, he knew that anything can happen at Talladega.
"You know, coming to this racetrack you know it's an equalizer and you've got as good a shot as anyone," continued Denny on his surprise win. "You've got to take advantage of these moment."
Hamlin certainly took advantage of his situation and now his team has some momentum and a chance to work on their program for that Chase run at the end of the season.
"Now we can just focus on working on our program, commented Hamlin on his team. "Doing whatever it takes to get ourselves in contention where we're a top 5 car every week because that's what it's going to take to win the championship."
We'll see if this win gives the eleven team the needed momentum to move forward the rest of the season.
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