Talladega is the one true wild card in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. And a year ago, this happened on the first attempt at a Green/White/Checkered finish.
Matt Kenseth won the race, his last for Roush Fenway Racing, but Tony Stewart’s tongue-in-cheek line earlier in 2012 that Talladega’s spring race “hadn’t crashed enough cars” proved prophetic for the fall. This 25-car pileup began when he and Michael Waltrip touched wheels, and triggered a chain reaction that was one of the worst looking accidents in recent memory.
Mercifully, no one was hurt. But it reminded everyone of the danger that lurks around every corner at restrictor plate races.
Stewart won’t be involved in an encore in 2013, given his injuries that have sidelined him for the second half of the season.
SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.
The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.
Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.
Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.
But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.
It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.
Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.