Australia's Marcos Ambrose has finished fourth in the Aaron's 499 in one of the most spectacular finishes in NASCAR history, a result that will do wonders for his growing reputation as well as catapulting him to 19th in the overall Sprint Cup standings.
On the wide open spaces of the Talladega superspeedway, Ambrose, who qualified only 34th, ran well all day in his JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota Camry.
In his most competitive oval outing yet, the Tasmanian was comfortable among the lead pack, running much of the race in the top 10.
A multiple-car crash on the back straight in the closing stages set up a four-lap sprint to the finish for the field, with Ambrose facing the restart in seventh position.
On the last lap came the spectacular and frightening shunt on the mad, jostling run to the chequer, when Brad Keselowski made contact with Carl Edwards, who had moved down on his rival's car in a defensive blocking tactic. Edwards' car became airborne, was hit by third place driver Ryan Newman and then catapulted violently into the catch fencing.
Eight spectators received various minor injuries from the debris.
The popular Edwards climbed injury-free from his wrecked, burning car, and jogged across the finishing line to the cheers of the fans.
Ambrose, lucky to miss the wreck, crossed the line in fourth place to record his best Sprint Cup finish on an oval in what was his first Sprint Cup race at the 2.66-mile Talladega tri-oval.
"That was a wild finish," said Ambrose.
"I just hope everyone is all right. It was the most spectacular thing I've ever seen in my life coming across the finish line looking at a car upside down like that.
"This is crazy racing, it really is. We can try and legitimise as much as we'd like but it's insanity on four wheels."
Keselowski took his first Sprint Cup victory ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Newman in a wrecked car, Ambrose, former Formula One driver Scott Speed, and series leader Kurt Busch.
Ambrose is back in action next weekend in at Richmond International Raceway.
RESULTS: Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway
Race 9 in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
1. #09 Brad Keselowski 188 laps
2. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr
3. #39 Ryan Newman
4. #47 Marcos Ambrose
5. #82 Scott Speed
6. #2 Kurt Busch
7. #16 Greg Biffle
8. #83 Brian Vickers
9. #20 Joey Logano
10. #31 Jeff Burton
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver's Standings - After Race 9 of 36
1. Kurt Busch 1299
2. Jeff Gordon 1294
3. Jimmie Johnson 1235
4. Tony Stewart 1232
5. Denny Hamlin 1193
6. Kyle Busch 1124
7. Carl Edwards 1119
8. Clint Bowyer 1098
9. Jeff Burton 1092
10. Greg Biffle 1081
19. Marcos Ambrose 937
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