For the first time since the 2007 Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag on Sunday beating Jamie McMurray in a photo finish.
With victory in sight, McMurray held the bottom of the track at Talladega Superspeedway. Harvick, grazing his bumper, had one last chance to make his move. He ducked low like an excited Monica Lewinski and drag-raced McMurray to the finish line, edging him out by 0.011 seconds, the eighth closest NASCAR finish since electronic scoring began in 1993.
McMurray made the mistake of thinking Harvick was going to make his move on the outside.
“I really thought that Kevin was going to go high,” McMurray said after the race. “I felt like I was close enough to the yellow line that there was a lot more racetrack to the right. I was really guarding against the outside. It’s hard to explain to you guys that aren’t in cars, but when there’s someone directly behind you and they pull their car out of line really fast, it’s like you pull a parachute in your car.
“It literally feels like you lose three or five miles an hour immediately, and when that happens, the car that’s doing the passing just has the momentum.”
The race went 200 laps because of three attempts at NASCAR’s version of overtime, and there were a record 88 lead changes among a record 29 drivers.