Almirola picks up win at Talladega

Paul Menard William Byron Kyle Busch Ricky Stenhouse and Denny Hamlin at Talladega Superspeedway

Almirola's win earned him an automatic berth into the third round of the playoffs.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (41) makes a pit stop during the at Talladega Superspeedway.

The final laps, however, proved treacherous for Blaney, who ran out of fuel as the field came to take the green with two laps to go. Busch steered to the bottom of the track and watched helplessly as teammate Aric Almirola charged past him and claimed the overtime win.

Timothy Peters bumped leader Noah Gragson out of his way on the final lap at Talladega Superspeedway, then blocked traffic for the final mile to win the Truck Series race Saturday.

Clint Bowyer placed second while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished in third. I love racing at Talladega, I came with a mindset of, "We're going to go race". "I really enjoyed leading the race, working with my teammates". I'm just so happy and proud to be in those cars on a day like today. At that point it didn't matter, I wasn't going to lift. It would have been nice to have the win. At the end, once we crossed the white flag and there is a wreck and an ambulance needs to be dispatched, I've been on the other side of that where I was racing coming back to win the race and they said, 'Well we had to dispatch an ambulance.' There was two cars dead in the water down there.

Almirola got the ticket into the Round of 8 with the victory, but Busch leaves Talladega 30 points above the cut line, a relatively comfortable margin.

"We certainly qualified better that we expected to", said Kyle Busch.

The highest finishing round of 12 driver who does not now sit above the round of 8 cut line was Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson. After unapproved adjustments to the vehicle, Larson started last on Sunday. That allowed the Stewart-Haas Racing cars to get lined up again, which threatened to be bad news for everyone else. On lap 104 of 193, Larson blew a left rear tire and spun on the backstretch, losing a lap in the process. The caution didn't come out, but while drivers were trying to avoid the spinning truck it put the field three wide.

Todd Gilliland was second when he tried to pass leader Grant Enfinger with 12 laps remaining, and contact between the trucks caused Gilliland to spin hard into the inside wall. And after spending most of the afternoon running mid-pack, he dodged late accidents to finish 11th - a stunning result given the lack of strength in his auto.

"Last week we didn't do a great job executing as a group", Zipadelli said. It is what it is. "He's like, 'You're going to win, I promise you". The driver head to Kansas this week for the final race of the second playoff segment. This is the case as a result of the fact that none of the other 10 round of 12 drivers, including the six who now sit above the round of 8 cut line, have point totals that can not be passed by at least six of the other round of 12 drivers who are not named Almirola or Elliott.

Larson finished fourth at Kansas in May.

The 12 drivers still in the hunt for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship will be hoping to avoid it in the 500, because it could spell their doom if they don't.

"Yeah, Kansas is a good track for us", Larson. "And if we win, we win".

"Strong" might not be good enough.

It means there's very little room for error Sunday at Talladega.

Truex fought the vehicle from the outset, and no amount of tinkering by his crew on pit road could define and fix the problem. The four SHR Fords had a healthy lead on the competition when Alex Bowman brought out the caution that sent the race into overtime.

Truex salvaged a 23rd-place finish, ahead of fellow playoff contenders Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, who had to pit for fuel before the last restart.

"Money is the root of all evil and success for us", Wallace said. It was tough to drive.

"My spotter said clear, and I just wasn't clear enough", Peters said of his move on Gragson. Those four were just getting away. "Why do we have an extra yellow flag lap is beyond me". They wrecked in front of us, and we barely made it through.



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