Tony Stewart has finished second at Talladega six times, but6 never won there, until Sunday. But the win came amid a flurry of controversy over a last lap pass below the yellow.
As many of the Chase contenders ended their day early after the big wreck started with Carl Edwards getting loose and turning teammate Greg Biffle. When the carnage came to stop, it was all over for Edwards, Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. With his 9th place finish, Jimmie Johnson secured a 68 point lead over Carl Edwards.
But the biggest story Sunday was about who Nascar declared the winner, after Regan Smith beat Stewart to the Finish Line. On the last lap Smith was pressing on the back bumper of Stewart’s Toyota, looking for a chance to get by. Coming to the front stretch, Smith faked high and Stewart bit, moving up. Smith then shot low, got his bumper under Stewart, but as Tony dove back down to block he clearly forced Smith below the yellow line. Being already there, Smith powered on by Stewart and crossed the line first. It was a short lived celebration as NASCAR ruled that Smith passed illegally below the Yellow Line. The win was awarded to Stewart and Smith issued a penalty that resulted in an 18th place finish.
Interviewed after the race, Smith explained that his understanding from the pre race Driver’s meeting was that on the last lap, with the Checkered Flag in sight, “Anything goes”. Nascar disagreed. According to the rules, a driver at Daytona and Talladega, cannot go below the yellow line and advance his position. It is further understood that if a driver is ‘Forced’ below the line, the pass is legal. All replays of the race show that Stewart clearly did force Smith below the line, but Nascar’s Jim Hunter insisted that Smith was NOT forced down. This will go down in history as a ‘tainted’ win for Stewart.
Nascar heads home to Charlotte this week for the Bank of America 500 Nascar Sprint Cup race on Saturday night, 6 PM on ABC and the Nascar Nationwide Series, Dollar General 300, Friday night at 6:30PM on ESPN2.
Wyatt Builders Racing Inc. is joining forces with Ray Cook Racing LLC to host the Tennessee State Championship for Super Late Model Dirt Racing. The $6,000.00 to win ($530.00 to start) event will be held on Saturday October 11 at Crossville Raceway.
In addition to the Super Late Model race, they plan to run the Limited Late Model/Sportsman/Crate cars for a $1,000.00 to win race. A $300.00 to win Pure Mini/Front Wheel Drive will complete the show. Gates will open at 2:00 pm with hot laps at 6:00 pm.