|This last lap wreck took out 95% of the field, including the MWR team.|
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
Michael Waltrip Racing had two cars that looked capable of winning, as both Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip were strong throughout the race. As the laps wound down, the tension started to rise as the "big one" loomed. Talladega and the carnage go together like peanut butter and jelly. Unfortunately it's not about how well you race, but how lucky you are.
Luck was not on MWR's side this time but Clint Bowyer still sits fifth in the Chase and with six races remaining, who knows what will happen!
|Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images|
Points: 5th (-40)
After leading three times and dropping to the back to "play it safe," Bowyer was swept up in the big one on the last lap.
"Shit!!! Was where I wanted to be and it just wasn't meant to be. I will say I love Matt Kenseth but he should've been penalized for blocking," Bowyer said post-race via Twitter.
“Yeah, it was just too bad. We had a good car and was patient all day long. Got in position. The caution came out and that’s just Talladega. That’s why we all come out and watch. I wish this thing -- we need to shorten this race up, because it’s all waiting to see what happens right there at the end anyway. They had a good run on us on the outside. Kevin (Harvick) and I got broke apart and he couldn’t stay with me. Like I said, we were in position to win. We just didn’t win.”
|Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images|
In just a few races a season, Michael Waltrip proved that he still has "it" on restrictor plate tracks. Imploring the mid-pack strategy, Waltrip was making his way to the front, and as the white flag waved, it looked possible that Mikey could have won this thing.
Heading into Turn 4, Waltrip passed Tony Stewart for the lead. Stewart made contact with Waltrip and ignited a 20+ car pileup. Waltrip would finish the race in 25th, far from where he could have (and should have) been.
For the record, Tony Stewart took all blame for the massive wreck: "I just screwed up. I turned down across ... Michael (Waltrip) and crashed the whole field. It was my fault blocking to try to stay where I was. I was trying to win the race. Michael got a great run on the bottom, a big head of steam. When I turned down, I turned down across Michael's race car. Just a mistake on my part that cost a lot of people.''
“It’s pretty much a buzz kill when you get crashed on the last lap and you’re not able to finish," Waltrip said. "I can’t take it -- it’s too much pressure on me as an owner and as a guy that’s the front man for the team. If I caused something -- I just have to race defensively not to cause anything. Heck, on the last lap I thought maybe I was going to squirt though. I don’t blame Tony (Stewart) at all because anybody in the world would have had to block like that. That’s what you had to do on the last lap. I was hauling.”
Mark Martin is back behind the wheel at Charlotte and will be making his 850th career start, the fifth most starts in NASCAR history.
|Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images|
Points: 8th (-48)
Making it three for three, Martin Truex Jr. was also caught up in the last lap melee but was able to drive his No. 56 car home to a 13th place finish.
Describing the accident, Truex Jr. said, “Stuff flying everywhere. Just a Talladega deal, you know? Everybody waits until the end, you get a run, it’s time to go, you can’t lift, everybody just runs into everybody and you’re kind of bouncing around out there like ping pong balls. We almost made it through. The very last car -- I got all the way through and the very last car came up off the apron spinning and just hit me in the door and spun me and I had to get spun around and keep going. Didn’t destroy the car like normally here, so we got through there pretty clean. Just gave up a couple of spots getting spun out, having to stop, spin around and get going again.”