AUTO RACING

Stewart triggers pileup, Kenseth claims victory

2012-10-08T00:00:00Z Stewart triggers pileup, Kenseth claims victoryThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 08, 2012 12:00 am  • 

TALLADEGA, Ala. - The championship contenders said Talladega Superspeedway would be the wild card race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

That was an understatement.

Talladega delivered yet another "big one" Sunday, when defending NASCAR champion Tony Stewart triggered a 25-car pileup as he tried to protect the lead.

His bid to block a long line of traffic on the last lap backfired, and his car was sent sailing through the air in a chaotic crash that collected 10 of the 12 title contenders.

Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth won under caution, and everyone else was left wondering when NASCAR will do something dramatic to alter the dangerous racing at restrictor- plate tracks.

"It's not safe. It's not. It's bloodthirsty," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "If that's what people want, that's ridiculous."

Stewart took full responsibility for creating the latest carnage at Talladega.

He had charged to the lead on the first lap of a two-lap sprint to the finish, but got too far ahead of the pack to hang on to any drafting partners.

Kenseth was charging on the outside of him and Michael Waltrip was leading a line of traffic on the inside. Stewart was blocking all over the track, and said he mistakenly chopped across the front of Waltrip's car to trigger the accident.

The contact hooked Stewart to send him into a spin, and his car lifted into the air and sailed on its roof and then on its side over several other cars. It created chaos through the pack, which was running three-wide.

"I just screwed up. I turned down and cut across Michael and crashed the whole field," Stewart said.

Points leader Brad Keselowski finished seventh and left with a 14-point lead over Jimmie Johnson.

Formula One

SUZUKA, Japan - Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix from the pole Sunday to pull within four points of Formula One championship leader Fernando Alonso, who crashed out at the first turn.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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