McMurray takes victory at Talladega

McMurray takes victory at Talladega

Cup Series

McMurray takes victory at Talladega

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Jamie McMurray took his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in three years as he led the final 16 laps in a tense finish at Talladega.

The Earnhardt Ganassi driver hung back for much of a race in which championship rivals Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson and the latter’s Hendrick teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. did most of the leading.

McMurray did not hit the front until lap 172 of 188, easing forward with drafting help from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Earnhardt and Austin Dillon ” driving for Stewart-Haas this weekend ” lined up behind McMurray and seemed poised for a last-lap attack. But before they could make a move, Dillon spun in front of fourth-placed Stenhouse.

Dillon’s car slid backward into the pack but was missed by everyone bar Casey Mears, whose Germain Ford sent the Stewart-Haas Chevrolet flying into the air as they made contact. Both were unhurt. That brought out an immediate yellow and stymied Earnhardt’s hopes, allowing McMurray to win by a second.

Stenhouse took third ahead of Paul Menard. Kyle Busch recovered from going a lap down early on when he missed his stall in a crowded pitlane then picked up a pit speeding penalty to take fifth.

Front Row could not repeat its shock Talladega 1-2 from May, but did get sixth and seventh with David Ragan and David Gilliland.

Johnson lost out in the final shuffles and could only manage 13th as the leaders stayed single file and refused to form the usual drafting pack, while Kenseth’s handling went off in the second half of the race and he slumped to 20th. That means Johnson now leads the championship by four points with four rounds to go.

Prior to the last-lap tangle, the only other crash came when Marcos Ambrose spun into the path of Juan Pablo Montoya.

Results - 188 laps:Pos  Driver                 Team/Car                         Time/Gap 1.  Jamie McMurray         Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  2h47m49.000s 2.  Dale Earnhardt Jr      Hendrick Chevrolet                +1.103s 3.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr     Roush Fenway Ford                 +2.161s 4.  Paul Menard            Childress Chevrolet               +2.166s 5.  Kyle Busch             Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +2.169s 6.  David Ragan            Front Row Ford                    +3.022s 7.  David Gilliland        Front Row Ford                    +3.670s 8.  Martin Truex Jr        Waltrip Toyota                    +4.867s 9.  Ryan Newman            Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +5.128s10.  Clint Bowyer           Waltrip Toyota                    +5.237s11.  Greg Biffle            Roush Fenway Ford                 +5.287s12.  Kevin Harvick          Childress Chevrolet               +5.859s13.  Jimmie Johnson         Hendrick Chevrolet                +6.283s14.  Jeff Gordon            Hendrick Chevrolet                +6.338s15.  Michael McDowell       Parsons Ford                      +6.647s16.  Joey Logano            Penske Ford                       +6.854s17.  Carl Edwards           Roush Fenway Ford                 +6.971s18.  Kurt Busch             Furniture Row Chevrolet           +7.195s19.  Travis Kvapil          BK Toyota                         +7.457s20.  Matt Kenseth           Roush Fenway Ford                 +8.315s21.  Jeff Burton            Childress Chevrolet              +10.299s22.  Aric Almirola          Petty Ford                       +10.604s23.  Trevor Bayne           Wood Brothers Ford               +38.299s24.  Justin Allgaier        Phoenix Chevrolet                +38.485s25.  Dave Blaney            Baldwin Chevrolet              +1m04.283s26.  Austin Dillon          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet             +1 lap*27.  Casey Mears            Germain Ford                       +1 lap*28.  JJ Yeley               Baldwin Chevrolet                  +1 lap29.  Brad Keselowski        Penske Ford                        +1 lap30.  Josh Wise              Front Row Ford                     +1 lap31.  Cole Whitt             Swan Toyota                        +1 lap32.  Michael Waltrip        Waltrip Toyota                     +1 lap33.  Danica Patrick         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet             +1 lap34.  Bobby Labonte          JTG Daugherty Toyota               +1 lap35.  Terry Labonte          FAS Lane Ford                      +1 lap36.  Kasey Kahne            Hendrick Chevrolet                +2 laps37.  Landon Cassill         Circle Sport Chevrolet            +5 laps* Not running at chequered flagRetirements:     Denny Hamlin           Joe Gibbs Toyota                 142 laps     Marcos Ambrose         Petty Ford                       134 laps**     David Reutimann        BK Toyota                        119 laps     Juan Pablo Montoya     Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       78 laps     Joe Nemechek           NEMCO Toyota                      60 laps     Tony Raines            Hillman Chevrolet                  2 laps** Running again at chequered flag

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