Matt Kenseth avoided a 25-car wreck and won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Tony Stewart tried to block his way to victory Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

The strategy backfired, badly.

The “big one” came on the last lap, when Stewart’s attempt to hold on for the victory instead sent his car sailing through much of the field and triggered a 25-car accident. Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth won under caution, and others were left wondering what happened to cause so much damage in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

“It’s not safe. It’s not. It’s bloodthirsty,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was 20th in the field of 43. “If that’s what people want, that’s ridiculous.”

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Stewart took responsibility for causing the accident. He said he mistakenly chopped across the front of Michael Waltrip’s car to start the trouble.

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. It created chaos.

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

Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was sixth and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was 12th after starting from the pole.

Series leader Brad Keselowski placed seventh and leads second-place Jimmie Johnson by 14 points with six races left.

Kahne is fourth in the standings and Biffle is tied for ninth in points.

Earnhardt, 11th in the standings, was frustrated by the crash and said, “If this was what we did every week, I wouldn’t be doing it. I’ll just put it to you that way. If this was how we raced every week, I’d find another job.”

Other races

• Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka from the pole and is four points behind Formula One series leader Fernando Alonso, who crashed out of the race at the first turn.

Ferrari driver Alonso has 194 points.

German Vettel is seeking his third consecutive F1 title.

• Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb of France clinched his ninth consecutive world rally title after winning Rally France in Strasbourg.

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