Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Clear
27°
Clear
Hi 34° | Lo 15°

Kenseth wins when Stewart gets knocked upside down

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jamie McMurray (1) kicks up dirt as he spins while Jeff Gordon (24), Kevin Harvick (29) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) avoid damage during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

    Jamie McMurray (1) kicks up dirt as he spins while Jeff Gordon (24), Kevin Harvick (29) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) avoid damage during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jamie McMurray (1) kicks up dirt as he spins while Jeff Gordon (24), Kevin Harvick (29) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) avoid damage during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

    Jamie McMurray (1) kicks up dirt as he spins while Jeff Gordon (24), Kevin Harvick (29) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) avoid damage during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Flames engulf Bobby Labonte's car after wrecking on the last lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

    Flames engulf Bobby Labonte's car after wrecking on the last lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Flames engulf Bobby Labonte's car after wrecking on the last lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

    Flames engulf Bobby Labonte's car after wrecking on the last lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Also involved in the wreck were Paul Menard (27), Casey Mears (13), Aric Almirola (43), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), David Ragan (34) and Sam Hornish Jr. (22). (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Also involved in the wreck were Paul Menard (27), Casey Mears (13), Aric Almirola (43), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), David Ragan (34) and Sam Hornish Jr. (22). (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Also involved in the wreck were Paul Menard (27), Casey Mears (13), Aric Almirola (43), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), David Ragan (34) and Sam Hornish Jr. (22). (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Also involved in the wreck were Paul Menard (27), Casey Mears (13), Aric Almirola (43), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), David Ragan (34) and Sam Hornish Jr. (22). (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)

    Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

    Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Jamie McMurray (1) kicks up dirt as he spins while Jeff Gordon (24), Kevin Harvick (29) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) avoid damage during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
  • Jamie McMurray (1) kicks up dirt as he spins while Jeff Gordon (24), Kevin Harvick (29) and Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) avoid damage during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
  • Flames engulf Bobby Labonte's car after wrecking on the last lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
  • Flames engulf Bobby Labonte's car after wrecking on the last lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Also involved in the wreck were Paul Menard (27), Casey Mears (13), Aric Almirola (43), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), David Ragan (34) and Sam Hornish Jr. (22). (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Dave Blaney (36), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Also involved in the wreck were Paul Menard (27), Casey Mears (13), Aric Almirola (43), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), David Ragan (34) and Sam Hornish Jr. (22). (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Tony Stewart (14) flips over as Kasey Kahne (5), Clint Bowyer (15), Terry Labonte (32), Regan Smith (78), Jeff Burton (31), Jimmie Johnson (48), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (88) Paul Menard (27) and David Ragan (34) crash around him during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Dale Davis)
  • Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

It backfired, badly.

The “big one” came on the last lap Sunday, when Stewart’s attempt to hold on for the win instead sent his car sailing through the field and triggered a 25-car accident. Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth won under caution, and everyone else was left wondering what happened to cause so much carnage.

“It’s not safe. It’s not. It’s bloodthirsty,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “If that’s what people want, that’s ridiculous.”

Stewart took full responsibility for causing the accident. He had charged to the lead on the first lap of a two-lap sprint to the finish, but got too far ahead of the pack to hang on to any drafting partners.

Kenseth was charging on the outside of him and Michael Waltrip was leading a line of traffic on the inside. Stewart was blocking all over the track, and said he mistakenly chopped across the front of Waltrip’s car to trigger the accident.

The contact hooked Stewart to send him into a spin, and his car lifted into the air and sailed on its roof and then on its side over several other cars. It created chaos through the pack, which was running three-wide in a frantic dash to the finish.

“I just screwed up. I turned down and cut across Michael and crashed the whole field,” Stewart said. “It was my fault, blocking and trying to stay where I was at.

“I was trying to win the race and I was trying to stay ahead of Matt there and Michael got a great run on the bottom and had a big head of steam, and when I turned down, I turned across the front of his car. Just a mistake on my part but cost a lot of people a bad day.”

Stewart gamely waved to the crowd as he climbed from his battered car, while Jimmie Johnson sat on the ledge of Earnhardt’s window for a lift back to the garage. Everywhere they looked, they saw crumpled cars.

Five-time Talladega winner Earnhardt said enough is enough with the carnage. He was credited with a 20th-place finish that dropped him four spots in the standings to 11th.

“If this was what we did every week, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “I’ll just put it to you that way. If this was how we raced every week, I’d find another job. That’s what the package is doing. It’s really not racing. It’s a little disappointing. It cost a lot of money right there.

“If this is how we’re going to continue to race and nothing is going to change, how about NASCAR build the cars? It’ll save us a lot of money.”

Series points leader Brad Keselowski said he was holding on trying to stay in the bottom lane because he figured that would be his escape route when the inevitable accident happened. He was credited with a seventh-place finish, but his Penske Racing team had a photo that showed Keselowski on the apron in fourth with the caution lights on — when the field should have been frozen. Both owner Roger Penske and team president Tim Cindric believed the driver wasn’t awarded the proper finish.

Still, Keselowski left Talladega with a 14-point lead over Johnson with six races to go in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

“That’s pretty big; I just feel lucky to survive Talladega,” Keselowski said.

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.