Stewart back in Chase lead after Talladega

October 2, 2005 (Talladega, AL)
By Linda Przygodski -

Experts surmised that Talladega would be the weekend that would shake out the Chase field. They were right. This time, however, it wasn't non-Chase cars that shook up the final standings. Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson both started mutli-car accidents, and while Newman was fortunate enough to grab a top-five result; karma bit Johnson sending him to a 31rst place finish.

1. Tony Stewart: Finished 2nd, Chase leader

Stewart's No. 20 Chevy was one of the best cars all day. The rebounded from a early overheating issue to score a solid top-two result.

"The big picture is what we were worried about today," explained Stewart. "Even if we finished 10th and gained points that was the big thing. I wish we could have won it. We had an awesome car. But, second place, we'll take it."

2. Ryan Newman: Finished 4th, -4

Newman caused a multi-car crash at lap 66 by punting Casey Mears but suffered no damage on the No. 12 Dodge and continued on for a top-five.

"I had the car pretty crossed up a couple of times in the middle of the tri- oval and I thought 'Man this is it'," said Newman. "I'm going to be in the third Big One of the day. I'm just happy to finish with the Alltel Dodge and I'm happy to finish, for sure, where we did."

3. Rusty Wallace: Finished 25th, -76

The No. 2 Dodge was involved in a multi-car crash at lap 66 after teammate Ryan Newman drilled the rear of the No. 41 Dodge of Casey Mears causing a major pile-up on the front stretch.

"It wasn't a good day that's for sure," said Wallace. "We had a good run going. The car ran great early. We got from the back to the front and then all of a sudden I saw the 41 spinning in front of me. That just ruined my day."

4. Jimmie Johnson: Finished 31rst, -82

Johnson got into the back of the No. 38 Ford of Elliott Sadler with help from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to cause a multi-car crash on lap 19. There was what looked to be minimal damage on the No. 48 Chevy, but when they got back going parts began falling off Johnson's ride causing the caution at lap 33.

His day continued to get worse before finally falling out in an accident at lap 66.

"The car is hurt pretty bad," said Johnson. "I'm not sure (what happened). Just some guys got together in front of me and before I knew it the hole was clogged and boom, boom, boom. Before you know it, you're in a wreck. It's restrictor plate racing."

5. Greg Biffle: Finished 27th, -98

Biffle got caught in a melee on lap 66 and suffered major damage on the No. 16 Ford.

"It was pretty obvious what happened," said Biffle. "It looked like Ryan Newman spun the 41 out. It's unfortunate. We were right there racing with those guys, but I had a good race car. This is what people pay their money to see and pay to watch television and listen to the radio is the big crashes here at Talladega.

"Everybody loves it."

6. Carl Edwards: Finished 5th, -100

Quiet and clean day for the No. 99 Ford.

"I had a blast," said Edwards. "The whole day the car was awesome. The guys really worked on this Ford here and I think you can tell from Dale Jarrett winning and Elliott Sadler on the pole that the Fords are really stepping it up and that means a lot."

7. Matt Kenseth: Finished 3rd, -111

Good top five finish for the No. 17 Ford team.

"I wasn't very good on the restarts getting through the gears," said Kenseth. "I don't know if it was just our ratios or what, but I knew that was gonna be tough and I saw them all gang up. I just didn't know where to block next, so once I did get shuffled back three-wide there, I could have gone with the 88 or the 20 and I gave the 88 a nice's pretty cool that DJ won."

8. Jeremy Mayfield: Finished 12th, -112

Solid and consistent run for the No. 19 Dodge, managed to stay out of the day's trouble spots and bring home a good result.

"We made it," Mayfield said. "That's why I'm not feeling too bad about it. I'm a little disappointed in the way we ran. The car just wasn't really fast all weekend. We didn't qualify good. We didn't run good in practice. We didn't run good in the race. But, we'll get it figured out.

"But, we made it through and that's the main thing. Finishing is what counts and we finished."

9. Mark Martin: Finished 41rst, -138

Martin was involved in the big one on lap 19 which caused extensive damage to the No. 6 Roush Ford.

"Somebody spun the 38 out," explained Martin. "That's about all I saw, the 38 spinning. I just want to say one thing; the fans are the only ones that can do something about this. No one else can. The drivers can't, the owners can't and NASCAR's not gonna do anything about it. I doubt the fans can either.

"I know that it is exciting to watch, but I didn't even get a sweat worked up. You just can't go against God's will. I'd have a championship if it was God's will. I'm OK and we'll finish this one off and worry about next year, next year."

10. Kurt Busch: Finished 8th, -180

Busch hit the wall in turn four on lap 91 after cutting down a right rear tire but managed to steer the No. 97 Ford to a top-ten result.

"Our car was damaged pretty bad," commented Busch. "The toe-out was knocked out about an inch-and-a-half, but, luckily we got that caution. There's something against us, but we just have to keep pulling through. To get a flat tire all on our own and wreck, and to come back and still finish eighth is a great day for the Sharpie Ford."

ON THE BUBBLE: (The 11th place driver receives bonus money and makes the stage in New York for the Nextel Series banquet.)

11. Kevin Harvick: Finished 10th

Harvick moves to 11th in points. It's good medicine for Team 29 who had their time disallowed after post-qualifying inspection for missing an overflow intake valve and crew chief Todd Berrier was escorted off property by NASCAR.

Jamie McMurray sits 12th trailing Harvick by 14 points while Elliott Sadler is 13th shy 33 points.