In what could be a harbinger of things to come for Sunday's Cup race, Joey Logano pushed Kyle Busch close to the finish line and then passed him before the stripe, taking Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Talladega.
As the race restarted with two laps to go for the second attempt at a green-white-checker finish, the fight for the win quickly came down to tandem drafting, with Logano pushing Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate in the Sprint Cup Series, and Ricky Stenhouse pushing Cole Whitt.
Whitt and Stenhouse, however, were unable to make a serious charge on the final lap, and by the time that they got to Logano's back bumper, he had already made the move to pass Busch on the outside as they exited the tri-oval, nipping Busch at the line.
While tandem drafting was pivotal in the outcome, the practice didn't dominate on Saturday, a good sign for those who dislike the tandem draft, as the Nationwide Series cars are capable of tandem drafting for longer periods of time than the Sprint Cup Series cars thanks to their larger radiators and grille openings.
The race wasn't without a significant heart-stopper though, and that moment came during "The Big One," which happened on the backstretch during the race's first green-white-checker finish attempt. Eric McClure was collected in the crash, which started when Michael Annett made contact with Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick at the front of the field. McClure slid head-on into the SAFER barrier on the inside backstretch wall.
The race was immediately red-flagged and track safety workers had to cut the roof off of McClure's car to extricate him. (The process took approximately 10 tense minutes.) McClure, who NASCAR said was talking with safety workers during the extrication process, was removed from the car and taken to an ambulance on a stretcher. He was transported to a local hospital, where according to NASCAR, he is under evaluation.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Kyle Busch
- Joey Logano