Kyle Busch wins Nationwide race in overtime
(April 16, 2011)
TALLADEGA, Ala.—In a wild ending that had Mike Wallace’s Chevrolet spinning upside down and landing on its roof, Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway when a caution flag on Lap 124 froze the field.
Busch got the win on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race seven laps past its scheduled distance at the 2.66-mile track. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Joey Logano, had just pushed Busch to the lead when Wallace’s wreck brought out the record 11th caution of the race.
Logano was credited with second place, followed by Joe Nemechek, Brad Keselowski and polesitter Elliott Sadler.
A huge 21-car chain-reaction crash on the backstretch after a Lap 88 restart thinned the field and collected several of the strongest cars, among them the No. 18 of Busch, the No. 1 of Jamie McMurray and the No. 66 of Steve Wallace.
Contact between Busch and Clint Bowyer started a spin that collected Michael Waltrip and sent half the field sliding and spinning out of control.
Waltrip blamed Sadler and McMurray who were separated on the track but were trying to hook up together in a two-car draft.
“It happened on the radio before the restart,” Waltrip said. “The 2 (Sadler) decided that he would manipulate the restart so that the 1 could get behind him, and they could work together like they had before.
“It’s the way you race, but the 1 and the 2 messing around got me crashed.”
McMurray agreed that he and Sadler were trying to get back together.
“I really don’t know what happened,” McMurray said. “I was obviously trying to get back to Eliiott—we worked together really well all day. Elliott was trying to get away from the 99 (Waltrip) so that I could get hooked up with him.
“I pulled to the inside, and I think the 18 behind me gave me a big shove, and I thought I was just going to have to go with him, because of the momentum we had, and then I just kind of got hit in the right rear.”
After a stoppage of 6 minutes 45 seconds—the second red flag of the afternoon—the race restarted on Lap 93, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the lead.
Earlier, on Lap 69, contact between the Fords of teammates Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sent Stenhouse, the series points leader entering the race, into the outside wall and out of the race.
After the wreck, NASCAR red-flagged the race for 5 minutes, 33 seconds to clean the debris from the racetrack.
By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service