Almirola takes win at Talladega

Hope Soto
October 18, 2018

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.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished third in a Ford from Roush Fenway Racing and marveled at how the SHR contingent crushed the field, even though Stenhouse had the same Roush Yates engine.

A victory would have put him into the third round of the playoffs, but that berth instead went to Almirola.

"I've been so close so many times this year", Almirola told NBCS after the race.

"If I kept my head on straight, I knew I had a chance to win", said Peters, who at 38 years old has been relegated to a partial schedule. I love racing at Talladega, I came with a mindset of, "We're going to go race". What a team effort.

But with three laps to go, out came a caution to set up an overtime finish and another restart.

However, Almirola did not lead the race until coming off of turn four on the race's 193rd and final lap when teammate Kurt Busch, who led a majority of the race's laps after starting from the pole position, ran out of fuel. Of course, the scoring tower could not guarantee that Busch would run out of fuel while leading through the final turn in overtime, but his criticism deserves a look.

"I rode around all day broke, hanging on, miserable", he said after his finish.

Brad Keselowski signaled out his window for a pit stop with 14 laps to go in stage 1 after reporting a vibration that seemed to be getting worse and hinted at a loose wheel.

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Richard Petty Motorsports had just one superspeedway auto to bring to Talladega Superspeedway so Bubba Wallace has been on his best behavior all weekend. "I just think everybody said, 'We need to help each other, work together, show everybody that we are teammates.' I felt like our cars were strong enough that if we did that, we would have a very strong day".

All four SHR drivers are still part of the 12-driver championship field, which will be trimmed by four following next weekend's race at Kansas. They were able to collect a handful of stage points to pad the 23-point cushion they had on the cutoff line entering the race and then avoid incidents in the middle of the race to put themselves in a position to win the race in the closing stages. However inevitably the big one happened with three laps to go. I'm really happy a Stewart-Haas vehicle won, but the four of us, I've never seen so much synergy.

Brad Keselowski is 18 points back, Ryan Blaney, is 22 points back, Kyle Larson trails by 26 points, and Alex Bowman faces a 68-point deficit.

NASCAR faced criticism from some drivers for a couple of late-race decisions. Chavous thought he won until he learned all the statistics were incorrect, and NASCAR simply moved on to the next race as if nothing weird had happened.

Fuel was an issue for several drivers especially after a wreck with three laps left forced overtime.

William Byron, with some help from Daniel Suarez, finally did something for the first time all afternoon: Making a pass to the outside of the leader. The race stayed green with Almirola shooting by the 41 as Kurt Busch ran out of gas. "We're here to win".

"I was trying to do what I could to manage the fuel, and there was two missed calls by NASCAR there at the end", Busch said. I wanted to. Luckily, we were able to get some tires there in the end.

UP NEXT: The elimination race of the second round of the playoffs, at Kansas Speedway, where Kevin Harvick won in May and Martin Truex Jr. won last October.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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