Strange days: Crazy race at Talladega leads to surprising finishing order
MAY 04, 2014 4:48p ET
How random is the racing at Talladega Superspeedway? Sunday's Aaron's 499, which was won by Denny Hamlin, showed just how odd the results can be on any given afternoon at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Consider some of the numbers:
Of the top-10 finishers on Sunday, only fourth-place Brian Vickers and seventh-place Kevin Harvick were in the top-10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings coming into this race.
Prior to Hamlin's victory, seven different drivers had won in the first nine races of the season. Here's how they finished at Talladega:
Harvick -- 7th.
Kyle Busch -- 12th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- 26th.
Carl Edwards -- 30th.
Joey Logano -- 32nd.
Kurt Busch -- 33rd.
Brad Keselowski -- 38th.
As for past Sprint Cup champions in the field, they didn't fare too well in Sunday's race, either:
Jimmie Johnson -- 23rd.
Terry Labonte -- 24th.
Kurt Busch -- 33rd.
Matt Kenseth -- 37th.
Keselowski -- 38th.
Jeff Gordon -- 39th.
Tony Stewart -- 43rd.
For those of you keeping score at home, that's seven drivers who have won a combined 18 Sprint Cup championships and none of them finished in the top half of the field.
"It's 'Dega. Stuff happens," shrugged Johnson, the six-time champion who caused one of the wrecks himself, when he spun out on Lap 175.
On the flip side, the top 10 was loaded with guys who finish better than the normally do. AJ Allmendinger, for example, finished fifth behind Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers. Bowyer and Allmendinger had their respective best finishes of the season, while Vickers equaled his best.
For Allmendinger, who was fast all weekend, it was just his sixth top five in 201 career Sprint Cup starts.
Understandably, he was thrilled with his run.
"I went to the back at one point, like everybody is going to calm down and it never happened," said Allmendinger. "About 50 (laps) to go I was like, 'Alright I guess it's time to get crazy with everybody.'"
And although the race ended under yellow, Allmendinger thought it was a good show.
"I hope the fans enjoyed it," he said. "It was awesome to see all the fans come out and how packed the grandstands were here at Talladega. It's like the old Talladega again so thanks for everybody coming out. I hope it was a great show."