Tony Stewart held off a hard-charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last lap to win the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway, his first at the track and third Nationwide victory this season.
Stewart led Junior and Greg Biffle to the green flag on a restart with two laps to go. Coming out of turn 4, Junior layed back, hooking up with Biffle. The two got a run on Stewart, with Biffle pushing Junior into the lead on the backstretch. But, Biffle and Junior couldn’t keep it together, which killed Junior’s momentum.
David Stremme pulled up to the back bumper of Stewart, pushing him back into the lead. Junior, stuck in the middle, dropped from first to his finishing position of sixth.
The top 10: Stewart, Stremme, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Jason Leffler, Mark Green, Jr., Mike Bliss, Patrick Carpentier, Scott Wimmer, and Mike Wallace.
Notables: Clint Bowyer finished 25th, Carl Edwards finished 31st, and Kyle Busch finished 18th.
Franchitti Hurt Dario Franchitti suffered a fractured left ankle when his No. 40 Dodge blew a tire and sent him into the wall. When his car slid down the track, Larry Gunselman hit the driver’s side of Franchitti’s car. Franchitti will miss tomorrow’s Aaron’s 499. After receiving approval from RWI and Penske, Stremme will replace Franchitti in the race.
The Big One The big one occured on lap 71 when Kevin Lepage pulled on to the track right in front of the lead pack. David Reutimann swerved to avoid him, and was tapped in the back by Mike Wallace, which sent him spinning. But, it was Carl Edwards who got the worst of it, slamming hard into the back of Lepage’s car. The crash also collected Brad Keselowski, Steve Wallace, Reed Sorenson, and Kyle Busch.
For his part, Lepage said that NASCAR said it was okay to blend into the field in turn 1. But, the commentators confirmed that the rule was that drivers should blend into the field in turn 2. Earlier in the race, Clint Bowyer was penalized for blending in the field too early.