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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Busch wins wild one at Talladega



Talladega, AL (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch won Sunday's Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup race at the Talladega Superspeedway as the checkered flag came out because of two multi-car accidents on the last lap. The No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crossed the finish line just ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya.

The victory was Busch's second of the season and sixth of his "Cup" career.

Denny Hamlin, David Ragan and Brian Vickers completed the top-five.

Busch was one of the fastest cars for most of the race, but got caught down a lap. He used a "Lucky Dog" pass to get back on the lead lap with about 60 laps to go. From there he powered towards the leader with help from the the No.24 Chevrolet and the No.42 Dodge.

Busch and Montoya were charging up together and were fifth and sixth with 16 laps remaining. One lap later, Busch and Montoya were the leaders.

Then with 15 laps to go Tony Stewart, who led the most laps, was involved in a multi-car crash, but some good driving avoided the really big one. However, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray and Martin Truex Jr. got knocked out of the race. Earnhardt Jr. also got a little piece of it, but was able to continue on. It appeared to start when Stewart got squeezed by Labonte and "Junior" amd ended up almost spinning Earnhardt Jr. Stewart slid up the track and the carnage began.

"The hole closed up, if it was my fault I'll apologize," said Stewart.

Nine laps to go and Michael Waltrip got a push from Jimmie Johnson and took over the lead, but Labonte spun again to bring out another caution.

The race restarted with five laps to go.

Waltrip, Johnson, Kyle Busch and Montoya got a good start. But Busch forced his way down near the yellow line and grabbed the lead with four to go. Now it Busch, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Montoya.

Gordon went high, but Busch blocked him and the No.24 Chevrolet fell back. Busch was still ahead when about a dozen cars collided in turn four in two separate incidents, but Busch was already past the white flag and he was declared the winner.

"It was all thanks to Jeff Gordon and Juan Montoya there at the end of the race, those guys were really helping us out," said Busch. "We got a lap down there, but we were able to get our lap back. This Toyota Camry is awesome."

Joe Nemechek brought the 43-car field to the green flag for a lot of close- in, side-by-side racing, but it yesterday's winner Stewart who led the first of 188 laps. And by the second lap he had both JGR teammates Busch and Hamlin lined up one-two-three.

Busch and Hamlin slipped back a little, but Stewart remained the leader through the first dozen laps. Eleven cars were now racing single file and it didn't look like anyone was going to step out of line anytime soon.

On lap 19 Matt Kenseth veered hard to the right up and against the wall with what appeared to be a right-front tire failure. Stewart, winner of yesterday's Nationwide Series race, won the race off pit road and continued his weekend domination.

Then on lap 33 Hamlin and McMurray teamed up, went to the high side and the two drivers drove all the way to and past Stewart. Hamlin slid to the bottom of the track in front of the long single-file group and he was the new race leader.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon saw it and they too went to the high side and took off for the leaders. By lap 38 the crowd was roaring as the No.88 Chevy grabbed the lead and Gordon slid into second place.

On lap 43 one of the championship contenders, Carl Edwards made an unscheduled stop for a right-side going down. It put him down a lap, but at least he didn't end up like his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Kenseth.

Everybody had now seen the moves to the outside and teams were linking up and heading forward. Paul Menard, Brian Vickers, Montoya and 2008 Daytona 500 winner Newman all took turns at the front.

At lap 61 the drivers began to head for pit road a couple at a time for fuel and tires. The next lap almost half the field made the slow lefthander into the pits. And the remainder of the drivers came in on lap 63 and 64 so no one got caught in a caution flag situation.

Only one driver had a problem, Busch. He missed his pit stall and had to go all the way around. it cost him almost a full lap to the leaders.

Stewart and Hamlin returned to the lead after the cycle of stops. Jimmie Johnson with help from "Junior" got the lead for one lap, gained five bonus points, and then went to the backwards to wait for the end of the race.

At the mid-point, 94 laps, Earnhardt Jr. was the leader while second place Stewart led the most laps - 55.

Edwards brought out caution flag No.2 with a blown right-front tire at lap 116. At the time the three leaders were Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr. and Stewart. They were clearly the class of the field, but on a couple of occasions teams had learned how to hook up and pass them for a brief period of time.

Could sometime time it perfectly and make their move at the checkered flag thereby steal the race?

Gordon and Montoya hooked up and flew around the outside to get Gordon the lead and a five-point bonus. it was all just practice for getting in position for the final few laps. Gordon then slipped back in the field, content to wait another 50 laps.

Earnhardt Jr., Stewart and Hamlin inherited the lead and would stay there until Stewart had a tire go down, but he cleverly kept it off the wall and headed to pit lane.

The caution flag sent everyone down pit lane for the final time. Junior stalled it on pit lane and it cost him three spots, coming out third behind Hamlin and Newman. Stewart managed to get to pit lane, get repairs and keep it on the lead lap. And the caution got Kurt Busch back on the lead lap with the "Lucky Dog" pass.

Earnhardt Jr. with help from a new "player" Greg Biffle moved to the lead on lap 149. Then just to show how wild Talladega is, "Junior" was 19th on the next lap.

Thirty laps to go and Hamlin was still leading, but it was a precarious one. All the players were moving into position. Montoya was third, Gordon seventh and Earnhardt Jr., the race favorite, was back up to eighth.

Paul Menard spun on lap 159 to give everyone a chance to catch their breath and set up for the final run to the checkered flag.

They got the green with 25 laps to go. Hamlin was a sitting duck on the restart as Newman lead a group underneath for the lead. Gordon was second and David Stremme was in third.

That's when Busch and Montoya hooked up and the rest was history.

"Without those guys pushing, it wasn't going to happen," said Busch.

The win pushed Busch to within 13 points of championship leader Jeff Burton.

The next race in the series is set for Saturday night, May 3rd at the Richmond International Raceway.

04/27 18:06:25 ET

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