Top 10 Tuesday: Last-Lap Passes at Talladega

Spencer Neff


Thank you for reading and I hope you are doing well.

On Sunday the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will close out the Contender round of the Chase at Talladega Superspeedway, one of the most exciting tracks in racing. Talladega has become synonymous with late passes for the win. Here is a look at the most memorable last-lap passes for the win in the track’s history.

10. 1983: Earnhardt’s First Talladega Win- After getting a controversial push from Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt overtook Darrell Waltrip and won his first of ten races at Talladega in the summer of 1983. The incident between Allison and Waltrip further ignited the rivalry among the two drivers.

9. 1993: Irvan Gets Past Earnhardt- After a lengthy rain delay in the 1993 spring race, the green flag waved with two to go. A lap later, Ernie Irvan got by Dale Earnhardt and went on to victory, but the msot memorable part of the finish came when Earnhardt clipped Rusty Wallace just before the start/finish line, sending Wallace into a violent airborne crash.

8. 2001: Earnhardt Jr.’s First Talladega Win: As the white flag flew in the fall 2001 race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead from Bobby Labonte. After a multi-car crash on the backstretch left Labonte’s car upside down, Earnhardt Jr. was able to keep Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton at bay. The win was the first of four in a row at Talladega for Earnhardt Jr.

7. 2006: Vickers Tangles with Johnson and Earnhardt Jr.- While trying to push teammate Jimmie Johnson to the win the fall 2006 race, Brian Vickers sent Johnson into Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the latter two crashed on the last lap, as Vickers went on to first career win.

6. 1981: Bouchard Stuns Waltrip and Labonte- The summer 1981 race featured one of the upsets that Talladega has become famous for. This time, it was Ron Bouchard driving past Terry Labonte and Darrell Waltrip to pick up his first and only win in a race that many people did not see the end of live after CBS experienced technical difficulties.

5. 1984: Earnhardt’s First Win with Childress- The summer race at Talladega in 1984 was long considered to be the greatest race in history. Earnhardt got drafting help from Buddy Baker and got past Terry Labonte for his second of a record ten wins at Talladega.

4. 1984: Yarborough Survives Late Duel: In the 1984 spring race, a motorsports record was established with 75 lead changes. The last of which came when Cale Yarborough went by Harry Gant on the white flag lap to win the race.

3. 2010: Harvick Nips McMurray: The last of a record 88 lead changes in the spring 2010 race at Talladega occurred when Kevin Harvick moved Jamie McMurray up the race track just enough to drive past him at the line, winning by .011 seconds.

2. 2009: Keselowski Gets First Win-After helping push Carl Edwards to the lead with less than two laps to go in the spring race,Brad Keselowski made contact with Edwards in the tri-oval on the last lap. Edwards got airborne and went into the catch fence, while Keselowski scored his first win and the only Sprint Cup win for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.

  1. 2011: Johnson edges Bowyer- In the spring of 2011, the race seemed to be a battle between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon. In the tri-oval on the final lap, Jimmie Johnson around the two with help from teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr and beat Bowyer by .002 seconds, tied for the closest finish since 1993 (introduction of electronic scoring) and tying 2010’s record of 88 lead changes. The win was the latter of two at the track in Johnson’s career.

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