Carnage. It happens often in superspeedway racing, and it happened again in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. After all of the sparks were done showering across the asphalt, and the smoke and dust settled from a last-lap crash, it was Kyle Busch who found himself as the winner of the race.
The driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, who has made a career of driving with ultra-aggression, played it chill throughout the race. And on the second overtime restart, when Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace crashed battling for the race win, it was Busch who scooted on by for the lead.
As the field was frozen due to a caution for the last-lap crash, it was Busch that was named the winner of the race.
"Sometimes you've got to be lucky, you know, and some of these races come down to that. And you have to take them when they come your way," Busch stated after climbing from the McLaren Custom Grills Chevrolet. "The seas kind of parted there when they went up the race track. They were trying to push draft, and these cars are just not stable enough to do that.
"I seen [Wallace] turn a little bit sideways and was like, 'Get out of the way, just miss it,' and try to see if I was ahead of [Blaney] by the time it was called."
Here is a video of the last lap action that led to Busch being named the winner of the race:
Following the last-lap shoving match with his close friend Wallace, Blaney somehow held onto his No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang and was able to come home with a runner-up finish.
While the end result was nice, Blaney, who led a race-high 47 laps, was a little frustrated by Wallace's multiple attempts at a block on the final lap of the event, but he understood his friend's position as the leader at the end.
"Yeah, I mean, it's just you get big runs and you take them when you can. In my mind -- I'm glad everyone's okay, but in my mind, you kind of triple move like that -- you triple block -- you can't block three times," Blaney explained. "I don't know. Just runs are so big, and as the leader, with Bubba he's trying to block which is the right thing to do, but I think he kind of moved three times. You don't really get a lot of those, I mean I have to go somewhere."
Blaney saw his 54-race winless drought extend to 55-races on Sunday.
While Wallace would fall to a 28th-place finish, as he failed to complete the final lap of the race, Chris Buescher was able to navigate the mayhem to finish a solid third.
Chase Briscoe would come home fourth, despite spinning onto pit road early in the race and Brad Keselowski would record a top-five finish in fifth.
While the last lap of the race was wild, as a six-car crash ensued, it was the crash on the race's first Overtime finish attempt that was truly frightening.
As Noah Gragson led the outside lane on the restart, Kyle Larson initiated a bump draft on Ross Chastain, which shot Chastain's No. 1 car to the inside of Gragson's car.
As that happened, Chastain and Gragson made contact, which sent Gragson hard into the outside wall. As Gragson's car skidded to a halt, Larson got turned as well and he spun to the inside of the track.
While it looked like that's where the crash would end, Larson's car had enough momentum going, that it climbed back up the banking and darted right across the track directly in the path of Ryan Preece, who had nowhere to go and t-boned Larson's car.
Here is the wild video from Preece's onboard cameras:
While it was a scary hit and a violent enough of impact that the rollbars on the right side of Larson's car were bent in the crash, both drivers were checked and released from the infield care center.
Preece called the hit one of the hardest he's ever had in a race car.
For Larson, It was a frustrating end to another solid opportunity at a superspeedway event. But following the intense impact, Larson was just happy to walk away.
"Thankfully, I'm okay. My car is absolutely destroyed," Larson stated. "Cockpit is a mess. Just thankful that I'm alright and all of that. Just a bummer. Put ourselves in a position once again on a superspeedway and the results don't show it. Another wreck, not of my doing on a superspeedway. So, I just hate it. But we'll keep getting better and eventually, it'll have to work out I would think."
Overall, Sunday's GEICO 500 featured 57 lead changes among 21 different drivers.
The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Dover Motor Speedway for the Wurth 400 on Sunday, April 30th. That race will be broadcast by FS1 and television coverage will kick off at 2:00 PM ET. PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide radio coverage of the event.
Photo Credit: James Gilbert / Getty Images