NASCAR At Talladega Superspeedway: Jimmie Johnson Edges Clint Bowyer For Win

NASCAR hits the biggest, baddest track of them all for today's Aaron's 499.

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NASCAR At Talladega Results: Jimmie Johnson Wins Thriller By .002 Seconds

Jimmie Johnson has won one of NASCAR's most thrilling races of all-time as eight cars crossed the finish line almost simultaneously.

The five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion used a push from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and edged out Clint Bowyer to win the Aaron's 499, his second victory at the Talladega Superspeedway. Jeff Gordon finished third, followed by Earnhardt, Bowyer's drafting partner Kevin Harvick, Roush-Fenway teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, and Gordon's wingman Mark Martin.

Johnson's margin over Bowyer was .002 seconds, while the margin between Johnson and Martin, the race winner and eighth-place finisher, was .145 seconds. The margin of victory ties the record for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' closest finish, when Ricky Craven nipped Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003.

It had been 15 races since Johnson's last win, at Dover last September, and this is the 54th win of his career.

Carl Edwards unnofficially maintains the point lead by five over Johnson.


NASCAR At Talladega: Kyle Busch Crashes With Fewer Than 50 Laps Remaining

One of the contenders throughout the Aaron's 499 has crashed 49 laps from the end.

Kyle Busch was turned by teammate Joey Logano exiting the second turn and slammed into Matt Kenseth before both cars hit the outside wall hard. A.J. Allmendinger also spun in the incident. Busch, who had led three laps but had been near the front all day, won yesterday's Nationwide race aftere being involved in a crash. The left front of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was badly damaged in this incident, however. Kenseth's Ford is in the garage area.

The crash occured as Dave Blaney's No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Chevrolet, barely an afterthought in most races, led the pack. There have been 65 lead changes among 23 different leaders. The records, both set in the 2010 Aaron's 499, are 88 and 29, respectively.

Several drivers, including pole-sitter Jeff Gordon and teammate Mark Martin, have spent most of the race running near the rear of the field. The same self-preservation method got Gordon a win at the fall race in 2007.


NASCAR At Talladega Update: Big Crash At Lap 90 Takes Out Trevor Bayne, David Ragan, And Others

The Aaron's 499 has had it's first multi-car accident on lap 90, and Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne is among the drivers involved.

The wreck appeared to start when Kurt Busch turned teammate Brad Keselowski across the backstretch into Marcos Ambrose. Bayne, David Ragan, and Kasey Kahne also became involved. All five drivers had led the race and figured to be potential contenders for the victory, but each car sustained heavy damage. Ragan's Ford was already aflame as his engine was failing when the wreck took place, but he bounced off of Ambrose and hit the outside wall head-on before being slammed by Kahne. Kahne's Toyota fireballed after the accident, but he was able to park the car and safely get out.

Busch also triggered the first caution of the race on lap 28 when he turned Landon Cassill exiting turn two, collecting Brian Vickers.

The two-car t andem of Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch were leading at the time of the accident. Teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson had also spent an extended period at the front of the field after a cycle of green flag pit stops that concluded at lap 75.

Dawsonville's Bill Elliott, who started the No. 46 Whitney Motorsports Chevrolet, has stepped out of the car in favor of the team's regular driver, J.J. Yeley. Elliott qualified the machine in order to make sure it got into the race, thanks to his past-champion's provisional.

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