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Coca-Cola drivers' chances go up with Smoke

October 08, 2012, Andrew Shain, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Stewart sets off last-lap wreck that takes out five Racing Family members

The chances for Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers to win at Talladega exploded like someone popped open a shaken can of soda.

Jamie McMurray was draft bumped out of the way while racing for the lead with five laps remaining, then Tony Stewart touched off the Big One trying to protect his lead on the last lap. That 25-car wreck collected five of the eight Coca-Cola drivers.

Still, three members of the red-and-white team landed in the top 10, led by Chaser Greg Biffle's sixth-place finish.

Here is how the Coca-Cola drivers progressed during the chaotic restrictor-plate race.

Greg Biffle

Talladega start: Fifth

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 5/21/7/2

Caught in the Big One: Yes

Finish: Sixth

Chase standings: Ninth (Up two spots and 49 points out of the lead)

What he said: "I was probably 20th and five-wide up against the wall, and then cars started wrecking. A car flew over the top of my car as I turned to the bottom and missed guys by three inches. It was like 'Days of Thunder' coming through the smoke and the grass and just kept it going straight. That's all I did, and once I was clear of all the stuff, I kept going to the start-finish line, but it was the craziest thing I've ever been involved in in my life."

Ryan Newman

Talladega start: Second

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 33/23/19/19

Caught in the Big One: No

Finish: Ninth (Best in seven Talladega races)

Points standings: 14th (Up one spot, 47 points out of 13th)

What he said: "It's just chaotic. There is no right way to do what we do out there. ... I was just in gridlock [on the last lap]. I was eight rows deep and four-wide it felt like. Probably 35th and I finished ninth. It's a halfway deserving finish, but we had no credentials to show for it on the last lap."

Jeff Burton

Talladega start: 26

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 21/5/4/10

Caught in the Big One: Yes

Finish: 10th (Fifth consecutive top-10 at restrictor-plate tracks)

Points standings: 19th

What he said: "That was a crazy finish, and I am glad everyone is OK. It was good to run up front and come home with another top-10 finish. This is a good momentum builder for the final stretch of the season."

Denny Hamlin

Talladega start: 23rd

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 37/29/24/30

Caught in the Big One: Yes

Finish: 14th

Chase standings: Third (No change and 23 points out of the lead)

What he said: "We got a good finish based off of the wreck. With this strategy [of hanging back on the field], you're basically conceding a win -- a chance at a win, but you're just trying to do damage control not to finish in the 20s and 30s. ... We don't have a scratch on our car and it sucks to get a good finish that way, but that's the strategy in which we played [Sunday] is to not get in a wreck."

Bobby Labonte

Talladega start: 40th

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 21/19/18/21

Caught in the Big One: Yes

Finish: 18th (Best finish in six Talladega races)

Points standings: 24th

What his team tweeted: "The big one happened, @Bobby_Labonte almost made it through, but got significant damage. On Fire, rolling again, don't know where he finished" "Not sure how @Bobby_Labonte listed P-18, missed most of wreck on inside, clipped late, well past most cars."

Tony Stewart

Talladega start: Fourth

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 34/27/21/8

Caught in the Big One: Yes

Finish: 22nd

Chase standings: Seventh (Down two spots and 46 points out the lead)

What he said: "I was trying to win the race, and I was trying to stay ahead of Matt [Kenseth]. Michael [Waltrip] got a great run on the bottom, had a big head of steam. When I turned down, I turned down across the right-front of his car. A mistake on my part. It cost a lot of people a bad day because of it."

Joey Logano

Talladega start: 14th

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 38/33/37/35

Caught in the Big One: No

Finish: 32nd

Points standings: 18th

Jamie McMurray

Talladega start: 24th

Place after laps 40/80/120/160: 2/1/2/1 (led the most laps, 38)

Caught in the Big One: No

Finish: 34th

Points standings: 20th

What he said: "It was great to get back up there and lead some laps. I wish the outcome had turned out differently. I was getting a push from [Kevin] Harvick and the car got loose, sending me into the grass on the frontstretch. The guys did a great job, and I feel like we had the car to beat."

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