No ‘Big One’ at Sunday’s race
by Erich Hilkert
Oct 21, 2013 | 575 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA—Fans held their breath, waiting patiently for ‘The Big One.’ But it failed to materialize on Sunday. Sure, there were wrecks, with the biggest one occurring on the final lap when Austin Dillon tried to block Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and found his car spinning sideways, before he crashed into Casey Mears. Dillon had been riding in third place just behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dillon was preparing to give Earnhardt a push into first place, when Stenhouse Jr. clipped Dillon.

“I was trying to help the 88 right there at the end and they had a run, the 17,” Dillon said. “So I went low and when I was coming back up he just hooked us. It was over there, but a wild ride.”

Earlier in the race on lap 78, Marcus Ambrose tried to make a move to the top and lost control of his car and slammed into Juan Pablo Montoya’s car, knocking Montoya out of the race.

“We were running two-wide, so it was comfortable,” Montoya said. “We started running three-wide and the spotter told me ‘Get out,’ and I backed up going into the tri-oval and the next thing I know I just saw out the corner of my eye somebody coming towards me and that was it.”

Carl Edwards managed to avoid being collected while riding directly behind Montoya, as he alertly braked hard and maneuvered around the wreck scene. The Ambrose-Montoya brought about the second caution of the race. The first caution occurred during laps four through seven after Tony Raines’s car was found to be leaking fluid on the track.

Prior to Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500, 12 of the last 14 races at Talladega had involved a multi-car wreck or caution in the last seven laps of the race. That number increases to 13 of the last 15, as Sunday’s race was completed under a caution flag.

Matt Kenseth had a strong start to the race, but complained into his team radio that his car didn’t seem to be running under normal conditions. After making a stop on pit row, everything seemed to run smoothly thereafter.

“It was really bizarre—typically, handling is a non-issue here and we just got so loose I couldn’t even hang on to it,” Kenseth said. “I pretty much had to run in the back for two runs which was disappointing. We finally got it fixed that last run, but we only has 20 laps to get back up there. I really needed to be up there like we were early and feel like I was controlling the race more—the lanes and the runs and all that and I could never get back to there.”

Kurt Busch had an issue with the left back flap of his car, but it was patched during a pit stop.

Aside from Kyle Busch missing his pit stall and several drivers being penalized for driving too fast in pit row, there was very little else in the way of excitement at this race. Fans will just have to wait for next spring’s return to Talladega and hope drivers aren’t as gun-shy as they were Sunday.