Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Driver Caught Up in Extra-Laps Accident
Date: Oct. 25, 2015
Event: CampingWorld.com 500 (Round 32 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 12th/25th (Running, completed 196 of 196 laps)
Point Standing: 26th with 627 points
Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford) in a green-white-checkered finish
It was a typical NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish to Sunday’s CampingWorld.com500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway when the field wrecked as the leaders took the green flag for the final restart. Unfortunately, Tony Stewart found himself caught up in the melee.
Despite a sorely tattered No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver was able to complete the final two laps around the superspeedway to score a 25th-place finish.
“I think it’s what you expect when you come to these races anymore,” Stewart said of the incident that led to the race concluding under caution. “Obviously, it’s not the finish we wanted for our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy.”
Although he qualified 12th, Stewart was forced to start at the rear of the field due to a front-suspension change during prerace preparations on Sunday morning. Stewart settled into a game of preservation at the onset of the race, running a comfortable pace near the back of the field for the majority of the 500-mile event, which played out relatively quietly, with 132 laps being logged before the first caution was ever displayed.
As the laps wound down Stewart lay in wait, timing what he intended to be his final move to the front of the field. His efforts were slowed, however, when the engine expired on the No. 1 car of Jamie McMurray to bring out a caution with five laps to go. The incident set up what should have been the lone green-white-checkered flag finish. With nothing to lose, Stewart brought the No. 14 Chevy to pit road for four fresh tires and restarted the race in 26th place.
Cars started colliding before the race leader ever took the green flag, so NASCAR officials waved off the restart and set the field for one final attempt at a green-white-checkered flag finish. As soon as the leaders took the green flag, numerous cars behind them started wrecking and collected Stewart in the process. The race was completed under caution, and Stewart finished the race in 25th place and on the lead lap.
While it was a tough day for Stewart the driver, it was a banner day for Stewart the car owner as he saw two of his drivers advance to the third round of the Chase for the Championship, the Eliminator Round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, led the way by finishing 10th and advancing in the Chase. It was Busch’s 18th top-10 of 2015 and his 15th top-10 in 30 career Sprint Cup starts at Talladega.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for SHR, also advanced in the Chase with a 15th-place finish.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 27th.
Joey Logano won the CampingWorld.com 500 to score his 14th career Sprint Cup victory and his first at Talladega. It was also his third-straight win and his series-leading sixth victory of the season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, while Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five. Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Busch rounded out the remainder of the top-10.
There were three caution periods for 18 laps, with seven drivers failing to finish the 196-lap race that was extended beyond its scheduled 188-lap distance due to the green-white-checkered finish.
As the sixth event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Talladega served as the second elimination race. The 12-driver Chase field was whittled down to eight following the CampingWorld.com 500. The Eliminator Round comprises the next three races at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Phoenix International Raceway. Following Phoenix, only the top-four drivers will advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship Round Nov. 22 in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Joining Busch and Harvick in the Eliminator Round are Logano, Edwards, Gordon, Keselowski, Truex and Kyle Busch. All had their respective point tallies reset to 4,000.
Earnhardt, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman were the four drivers eliminated from the Chase.