TALLADEGA, Ala. -- It took avoiding several crashes in the final laps, but when the smoke cleared and the carnage was cleaned up, it was Denny Hamlin standing in Victory Lane Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin was in front when a Justin Allgaier crash ended the Aaron's 499 under caution. Greg Biffle finished second, with Clint Bowyer third.
A 14-car wreck on Lap 138 knocked out several contenders including Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. The incident occurred when Brad Keselowski, several laps behind but racing with the leaders, broke loose in the middle of the pack in Turn 4.
"I had seen him for several laps driving over his head being pretty aggressive," Gordon said. "I knew he was laps down, but he wasn't doing anybody any favors, or himself.
"Somebody might not have given him an inch there, but he was certainly taking probably more than he should have been in the situation he was in."
The reason Keselowski fell behind was an early incident involving Danica Patrick as the two fought for the lead. Keselowski, running in the middle lane, made contact with the nose of Patrick, who was positioned in the bottom groove, sending Keselowski spinning wildly down the apron and then back up the Turn 1 embankment.
Keselowski suffered a broken radiator hose. Patrick continued on unimpeded, finishing 22nd.
Sunday's win was Hamlin's first of 2014, and his first on a restrictor-plate track.
Brian Vickers, AJ Allmendinger, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. comprised the remainder of the top 10.