by Garrett Horton
Despite not picking up the win after leading on the race’s final restart, Matt Kenseth’s third place finish matched his career best at the 2.66 mile speedway. In a bit of a coincidence, his other third place result came in the 2005 fall running, when the Ricky Bobby “Me” machine was running some laps on the track.
Clint Bowyer’s average finish in the last five Talladega races. In his eight Talladega starts prior, his best effort had been a fifth.
David Ragan continues to be strong at Talladega, finishing a season high seventh place. It marks his fourth top-10 effort in 11 races at the speedway, and his first one with his new team Front Row Motorsports.
Kasey Kahne is back on track after a terrible start to the season, having moved up 12 positions from 331st to 19th in the standings the last four races. In addition, his 11 laps led at Talladega where the first laps he has led all year.
Even at Talladega, starting position has proved to be important this year. Race winner Brad Keselowski started the day in 13th, matching the furthest back a race winner has started this season.
It took 23 races for Kevin Harvick to post his DNF at Talladega. The 2010 spring winner was caught up in the lap 186 accident that involved eight other cars.
Only 24 cars completed the race on Sunday, a season low.
Martin Truex’s average finish the last two weeks after having not finished lower than 17th in the first eight races.
Jimmie Johnson would be much happier with his season if it didn’t include stops to Daytona at Talladega. While he has completed every lap in all the non-restrictor plate races this year, he has run just 62 of the combined 396 laps at NASCAR’s two biggest tracks.
The new Mr. Restrictor Plate? Matt Kenseth led a race high 73 laps during the Aaron’s 499. This is the most number of laps he has led in a single restrictor plate race, eclipsing his previous high of 50 which came in the most recent event at Daytona.
Carl Edwards is looking to snap a winless streak that is now up to 43 races, but it was another streak that ended on Sunday; by crashing out in the lap 142 “Big One” it marked the first time since the spring race at Texas two years ago that Edwards failed to finish a race, snapping a streak of 73 straight races without a DNF.