The No. 1 car had been by far the strongest on the night. McMurrray not only had a great car, but he also deployed a perfect strategy. Starting out the fifth segment in second place, he quickly overtook Carl Edwards for the lead and then put a huge amount of distance between himself and Kevin Harvick.
The way in which he eliminated all of the drama at the finish only illustrated how well he ran on Saturday night. The nature of the All-Star Race lends itself to dramatic finishes; however, McMurray had the win all wrapped up about halfway through the final segment.
In one of the wildest NASCAR races of the year thus far, Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car took the checkered flag and won the 2014 Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race at the always unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin, who opened the season with a pair of wins in Daytona exhibition races only to finish second in the Daytona 500, was again sitting second in the closing laps Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. But he won a drag race with leader Kevin Harvick on a restart with two laps remaining, and was out front when NASCAR froze the field because of debris from an accident.
Hamlin let out a deep sigh when the yellow flag waved.
“Superspeedway win,” he said on his radio. “With points! With points!”
Hamlin became the eighth winner in 10 races this season as drivers jockey to grab the 16 spots available in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears got tangled up in a heated confrontation after Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond, Va. The pair started pushing each other and then Ambrose swung a punch at Mears, surprising Fox’s Chris Myers.
While it is unknown if NASCAR will take disciplinary action against these individuals, you can expect some sort of punishment for an incident that could end up being an embarrassment to the sport.
After the race, Ambrose sits in 16th place in the Sprint Cup Series Standings, while Mears is in 23rd. Although there is a lot of season left to make up ground, this is likely not what either competitor was hoping to see at this point in the year.
Tempers were flaring, caution flags were flying and keeping a clean car was nearly impossible for every Sprint Cup driver during the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.
Kurt Busch experienced all of that. But when the brake dust finally settled at the short track, the Outlaw emerged as the sixth different driver to take the checkered flag through as many races.
The victory was his first for Stewart-Haas Racing, in just their sixth race together, suggesting that it could prove a very productive partnership, and one that a reflective Busch said he has learned to approach with a more mature attitude.
Flirting with disaster yet again as he did during the Daytona 500 victory, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the lead heading into the final lap of the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. The gamble didn’t pay off this time around, however, as Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel and Brad Keselowski emerged victorious.
Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, also virtually assured himself of a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship after missing it entirely last season, a thought was already on his mind immediately after the finish.
“Locked in the Chase early,” Keselowski said. “I don’t have to hear all that crap about not being in the Chase.”
Earnhardt was just a few ounces of fuel shy of earning his second victory in three races to start the season. The Daytona 500 champion also finished second last week at Phoenix before improving the best start to a season in his NASCAR career.
Keselowski swept both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races on consecutive days and secured his third top-five finish of the season through three races—the same as Earnhardt Jr.
Kevin Harvick held off the competition Sunday to win The Profit in the CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, for his fifth victory at the track, which is the most all-time, per ESPN’s Matt Willis.
Coming off a disappointing finish at the Daytona 500, Harvick had the fastest car in practice and kept it rolling in the race, leading 224 of 312 laps on the odd-shaped mile oval.
Late in the race, though, the caution flag came out three times in the final 34 laps. The restarts put both Earnhardt and Joey Logano, who led 71 laps and finished fourth, right back on Harvick’s tail.
Harvick would keep them there.
Here are the top 10 finishers from the race. You can view the full leaderboard on NASCAR.com.