Jamie McMurray won the Cup race at Talladega on Sunday, breaking a 108-race winless streak and allowing Jimmie Johnson to take the lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
McMurray took the lead with 15 laps to go and held off a charge from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take the checkered flag for the Camping World RV Sales 500 at the restrictor place track.
Much like Saturday’s race, USA Today reports that the Cup race ended half a lap early when the caution flew for a crash involving Austin Dillon and Casey Mears. The caution froze the field and allowed McMurray to take the win.
Dillon spun going out of the second turn and went airborne when Case Mears slammed into him. Thankfully, the car came back down upright and no one was injured. ESPN notes that Dillon, who filled in for an injured Tony Stewart, commented after the race:
“I was trying to go for the win there. A wild ride. I just have to thank NASCAR for everything they have done for safety… I got to drive the car back to the garage.”
Later on, the driver took to Twitter to joke, “That was fun who needs SkyDiving.”
Jamie McMurray’s win capped off an excellent win for team owner Chip Ganassi, who won the IndyCar championship on Saturday night with Scott Dixon. It was also a big celebration for the driver, who hasn’t won since 2010. McMurray stated after his celebration in Victory Lane:
“It’s unfortunate that the caution came out. I don’t know how I was going to defend it, honestly, but I’m not going to complain. I just really wanted to be up here celebrating with my family.”
Earnhardt was trying to end a nine-year winless streak on restrictor-plate races, but settled for second place instead. The Hendrick Motorsports driver hasn’t won in NASCAR’s premier series in the last 53 races, though he has come close several times. Meanwhile, Earnhardt’s teammate, Johnson, finished 13th and took over the Chase points lead from Matt Kenseth.
Before Austin Dillon’s last-lap crash, the race was relatively clean. There were only three cautions and one accident, which involved Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya.