In a last-lap shuffle, Ross Chastain snuck through to win the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon.
Exiting Turn 4 on the final lap, Erik Jones led the field in the inside lane but found himself too far out front as the drafting pack behind him neared. Kyle Larson moved high to dart around Jones but Jones went to block. As cars crashed behind them, Chastain stayed low and charged past both to score his second career win, both coming in the past five races.
Chastain, who won at Circuit of the Americas on March 27, joins William Byron (Atlanta, Martinsville) as the only drivers to win multiple races this season. Chastain used the same car at Talladega that he used to win at COTA.
MORE: What drivers said
The crash behind the leaders was first triggered when Byron was blocked high by Bubba Wallace. Byron had to check up and was turned into the outside wall by teammate Alex Bowman. Moments later, Wallace’s teammate Kurt Busch was walled when Larson moved right to pass Jones. Busch bounced off the wall and clipped Wallace, sending him head-on into the SAFER barrier. Corey LaJoie was also sent for a slide when Michael McDowell hit his left rear exiting the tri-oval.
On Lap 56, Daniel Hemric‘s engine lost a cylinder while running mid-pack in the bottom lane. The pack stacked up and Hemric’s No. 16 Chevrolet was sent spinning to the apron before catching and sliding back into traffic. Hemric was clobbered by Chase Briscoe, who was subsequently smashed by Chris Buescher, ending all three drivers’ days.
On a Lap 90 restart, Bubba Wallace was fourth in the outside lane trying to shove the line forward. But contact to Joey Logano‘s bumper shot the No. 22 Ford to the right and into the wall. Logano bounced back into traffic, hit hard by Ty Dillon and others in a nine-car accident, the most significant of the day. Among those out of the race were Logano, Dillon, Daniel Suarez and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Despite challenging in the lead draft late, Denny Hamlin was forced to pit in the closing laps because he was short by one second’s worth of fuel. Hamlin finished 18th.
There were no issues in post-race inspection. NASCAR is taking the cars of Larson, Truex, Bowman, Harvick, Hamlin and Brad Keselowski back to its R&D center and wind tunnel for further inspection.
Stage 1 winner: Bubba Wallace
Stage 2 winner: William Byron
Who had a good race: With a fourth-place finish, Kyle Larson picked up his first top-five finish on a superspeedway in his 31st attempt. Larson led 32 laps Sunday despite entering the race with just 31 circuits led on superspeedways. … Michael McDowell, who finished ninth at Bristol dirt, picked up his second straight top-10 finish by finishing eighth at Talladega. It’s his third of the year in addition to a seventh-place finish at Daytona. … Erik Jones, who led 25 laps, finished sixth for his third top 10 of the year.
Who had a bad race: One week after finishing runner-up at Bristol dirt, Tyler Reddick finished 39th — dead last — at Talladega. Reddick suffered an engine failure at Lap 31 that relegated him to the garage early. … Chase Briscoe, who spun Reddick in a battle for the win last week at Bristol, finished 37th after his involvement in the aforementioned incident on Lap 56. It’s his second finish outside the top 20 in the past two weeks and second DNF of the year. … Joey Logano faced his first DNF of the year after crashing out at Lap 90. The contact sent Logano to the garage with a 32nd-place finish.
Notable: Chastain, who rallied to the win following a speeding penalty at Lap 36 that left him a lap down, led only the final lap Sunday en route to victory lane, the second week in a row the leader led just one lap. Chastain had never finished better than 12th at Talladega and wins courtesy of the 30th last-lap pass in Talladega history. … The final 63 laps went caution-free.
Next race: The series heads northeast to Dover Motor Speedway on May 1 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).