Tuesday, October 22, 2013

McMurray Wins at Talladega

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Jamie McMurray held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the Camping World RV Sales 500 after the race ended under caution on Sunday afternoon.

Photo courtesy Getty Images
McMurray led the final 16 laps of the race, and he was ready to fend off a hard charge from Earnhardt on the final lap.  But when a wreck occurred coming out of Turn 2, a caution came out to freeze the field as they ran.

McMurray said he wasn't sure if he would have been able to hold off Earnhardt and Austin Dillon if they had tried anything, and that he had been thinking of what he could do for the final 10 laps.

"I saw the 88 [of Earnhardt] trying to figure out how to set me up to get around me," McMurray told ESPN.
McMurray said he had worked the entire race to get up front, and that he saw how Kenseth and Johnson had made the high line work throughout the race.

"I just could never get in the right line," said McMurray.  "I felt like I was pretty patient all day, and I was able to get myself into position.  Kenseth and Johnson showed that it was better to get hung out on the high side than the low side."

The victory was McMurray's first win of the season and the seventh of his career.

Aric Almirola started on the pole after qualifying was rained out on Saturday afternoon.  He was able to clear Jeff Burton when the green flag fell, and he led until the first caution of the day came out on lap three when Tony Raines blew an engine.

Almirola led the field back to the green flag on lap eight, but Burton was able to take the lead going through Turns 1 and 2.  

Points leader Matt Kenseth took the lead for the first time of the day on lap 12.  He lost the lead the lead to Greg Biffle and Joey Logano before regaining it until the first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 42.

When stops had cycled around by lap 49, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the leader of the race.  Earnhardt, Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson swapped the lead until the second caution of the day came out on lap 78.  Marcos Ambrose got loose going through the trioval, and he spun down into Juan Pablo Montoya.

The leaders brought their cars down pit road.  Johnson won the race off, and he led the field back to the green flag on lap 85.  Johnson, Earnhardt, and Kenseth swapped the lead during the run, until Johnson pitted under green on lap 122.

On lap 123, everyone else began to make their pit stops, and Almirola was the leader when stops had cycled around on lap 127.  He only held the lead for one lap, because Earnhardt took the lead again on lap 128.

On lap 147, Kyle Busch took the lead for the first time of the day.  Busch had a pit miscue earlier in the race, and he had to play catch-up for most of the day.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took the lead on lap 148, but Earnhardt took the lead again on the next lap.

Earnhardt led the field around single-file until the final round of green flag pit stops began on lap 162.  By the time stops had cycled around by lap 166, Busch was once again the leader of the race.

Busch raced side-by-side with Carl Edwards for the lead until McMurray took them 3-wide for the lead on lap 175.  

McMurray led the field single-file until the final lap, when Dillon and Stenhouse got together, sending Dillon spinning across the track.  He made hard contact with Casey Mears, which sent Dillon's car airborne.  

The race ended under caution, freezing the field, and McMurray picked up his first victory of the season.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Jamie McMurray
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
4. Paul Menard
5. Kyle Busch
6. David Ragan
7. David Gilliland
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Ryan Newman
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Greg Biffle
12. Kevin Harvick
13. Jimmie Johnson
14. Jeff Gordon
15. Michael McDowell
16. Joey Logano
17. Carl Edwards
18. Kurt Busch
19. Travis Kvapil
20. Matt Kenseth
21. Jeff Burton
22. Aric Almirola
23. Trevor Bayne
24. Justin Allgaier
25. Dave Blaney
26. Austin Dillon
27. Casey Mears
28. J.J. Yeley
29. Brad Keselowski
30. Josh Wise
31. Cole Whitt
32. Michael Waltrip
33. Danica Patrick
34. Bobby Labonte
35. Terry Labonte
36. Kasey Kahne
37. Landon Cassill
38. Denny Hamlin
39. Marcos Ambrose
40. David Reutimann
41. Juan Pablo Montoya
42. Joe Nemechek
43. Tony Raines

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