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McMurray wins Sprint Cup race at Talladega

Finishes under yellow with Dale Jr. in tow
Sunday, October 20, 2013

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Jamie McMurray, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory Sunday
HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet
Chip Ganassi's driver Scott Dixon wrapped up the IndyCar championship last night at Fontana and today Jamie McMurray won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega for Ganassi. 

The race finished under caution with Dale Earnhardt Jr. denied the chance to slingshot past on the last lap.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was third. 

Paul Menard and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-5. 

Jimmie Johnson finished 13th but took over the Chase point lead.

McMurray led 16 of the 188 laps to score his first victory of the season, seventh of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and second on the 2.66-mile track. He also prevailed at Talladega in the fall of 2009.

The race was halted about a half-lap from the finish by a caution period when Austin Dillon, subbing for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Chevy, spun out of the second turn down the backstretch. He slid back into traffic and the No. 13 Ford of Casey Mears slammed into the rear of Dillon's car, sending it airborne.

With the field frozen, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led 38 laps, took second place, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard and Kyle Busch in the unofficial top five.

Jamie McMurray drives new sponsor Cessna to victory
Getty Images for NASCAR
The race left the contest between championship front-runners Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson atop the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings reversed with four races left in the season. Kenseth entered Talladega with a four-point edge. He left with a four-point deficit to Johnson, who led the most laps (47), finished 13th to Kenseth's 20th and took over the top spot in a bid for his sixth Sprint Cup crown.

Aside from some brief time that Kenseth spent playing it safe in the rear of the field during the middle and later stages, the two title contenders were found in sight of each other near the front of the pack for most of the day.

Busch, who entered the race as a fringe championship contender after a subpar weekend at Kansas Speedway two weeks ago, missed his pit stall during the first round of green-flag pit stops on Lap 40. He lost a lap in the exchange, but regained it as the free-pass driver on the next caution flag on Lap 79, when Marcos Ambrose spun and collected Juan Pablo Montoya in the tri-oval.

The race was fairly tame — by Talladega standards — until the final green-flag pit stops with 25 laps remaining. That’s when the drivers got busy, dicing and jockeying for position and swapping the lead three-wide.

The first 77 laps were fairly uneventful, with Kenseth, Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. swapping the lead while Chase contender Kevin Harvick hung around the back.

The first wreck occurred on Lap 78 when Marcos Ambrose lost control of his car while running in the outside lane, spun across the track and slammed into the car of Juan Pablo Montoya. Surprisingly, they were the only two drivers involved in the crash.

The incident allowed Kyle Busch to get back onto the lead lap. He had fallen a lap down when he got blocked on pit road and missed his pit stall, forcing him to pit twice.

Danica Patrick was in contention to win, running in the top 10 much of the race, until she was nabbed for speeding on her final pit stop. Patrick hit pit road too hot and then swerved on pit road, prompting Matt Kenseth to call her a “derelict.”

Results

Pos # Driver Make Start Laps Led Status
1 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 9 188 16 Running
2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 8 188 38 Running
3 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford 21 188 6 Running
4 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 34 188 0 Running
5 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 27 188 9 Running
6 34 David Ragan Ford 7 188 1 Running
7 38 David Gilliland Ford 24 188 0 Running
8 56 Martin Truex Jr Toyota 4 188 0 Running
9 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 17 188 0 Running
10 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 20 188 2 Running
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 6 188 5 Running
12 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 33 188 0 Running
13 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 11 188 47 Running
14 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 19 188 3 Running
15 98 Michael McDowell Ford 36 188 0 Running
16 22 Joey Logano Ford 18 188 7 Running
17 99 Carl Edwards Ford 5 188 1 Running
18 78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 30 188 3 Running
19 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 38 188 0 Running
20 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 12 188 32 Running
21 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 2 188 4 Running
22 43 Aric Almirola Ford 1 188 8 Running
23 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 26 188 0 Running
24 51 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 35 188 0 Running
25 7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 39 188 1 Running
26 14 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 16 187 0 Accident
27 13 Casey Mears Ford 10 187 1 Accident
28 36 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 37 187 0 Running
29 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 13 187 0 Running
30 35 Josh Wise Ford 14 187 0 Running
31 30 Cole Whitt Toyota 31 187 0 Running
32 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 22 187 0 Running
33 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 23 187 0 Running
34 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 29 187 2 Running
35 32 Terry Labonte Ford 40 187 1 Running
36 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 28 186 1 Running
37 33 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 43 183 0 Running
38 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 15 142 0 Engine
39 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 3 134 0 Running
40 83 David Reutimann Toyota 25 119 0 Engine
41 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 32 78 0 Accident
42 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 42 60 0 Engine
43 40 Tony Raines Chevrolet 41 2 0 Engine

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