Almirola takes victory as Busch runs out of fuel

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Monday 15th October, 2018 - 11:26am

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Aric Almirola takes the chequered flag

Aric Almirola has won the second race of NASCAR’s Playoff Round of 12 after team-mate Kurt Busch ran out of fuel in overtime.

The Stewart-Haas Racing Fords were untouchable at times at Talladega Superspeedway and so it was that Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer were on the front row for the final restart.

Almirola took up the inside of the second row in Car #10 after #4 SHR driver Kevin Harvick had to relent and pit for fuel.

Kurt Busch continued to lead as the field started the final lap but Almirola was coming on his outside after a push from Paul Menard (#21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford).

When Car #41 coughed into Turn 4, Almirola drove on by to secure his place in the next phase of the season, having been first outside the cut arriving at Talladega.

Bowyer reclaimed second position in the #14 Ford while Ricky Stenhouse Jnr snuck up to third in the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

Kurt Busch took the chequered flag in 14th while Harvick was another 14 positions back again, a result which did not reflect the dominance of Stewart-Haas Racing across the 1000Bulbs.com 500 weekend.

Its Fusions swept the top four of qualifying, in which Kurt Busch took pole, and the first two stages, won by Kurt Busch and Harvick respectively.

They ran in their own leading pack at times, including at the time of the late Caution which cruelled the earlier stage winners.

That came on Lap 186 of the scheduled 188 when Alex Bowman hit the wall in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, with William Byron (#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) and JJ Yeley (#23 BK Racing Ford) caught in the incident.

Bowman was classified 33rd and now faces a must-win scenario in the next race, in Kansas.

Denny Hamlin (#11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) finished the race in fourth, Joey Logano (#22 Team Penske Ford) was the final Playoff contender in the top 10 as he took the chequered flag in fifth, and AJ Allmendinger (#47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet) was sixth.

Jimmie Johnson finished seventh despite glancing the inside wall in the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after a half-spin on Lap 63.

Rounding out the top 10 were Erik Jones (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), Menard, and Regan Smith (#95 Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet).

Kyle Larson (#42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) is 11th in the Playoff standings having finished in the race in the same position after a spin on Lap 104 which brought out a Caution.

Martin Truex Jnr battled gremlins in the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota on his way to 23rd, three positions ahead of Kyle Busch (#18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), who was delayed by a multi-car crash at the start of the final lap.

Team Penske team-mates Brad Keselowski (#2 Ford) and Ryan Blaney (#12 Ford) were 27th and 29th respectively.

Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) finished 31st after being caught up in the late pile-up but had already booked his ticket to the Round of 8 with a win one week earlier in Dover.

The Round of 12 ends with the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway this coming weekend (October 19-21 local time).

Replay: Overtime finish

Results: 1000Bulbs.com 500, Talladega Superspeedway

Pos Num Driver Make Laps Led Status
1 10 Aric Almirola Ford 193 1 Running
2 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 193 0 Running
3 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jnr Ford 193 0 Running
4 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 193 0 Running
5 22 Joey Logano Ford 193 0 Running
6 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 193 1 Running
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 193 0 Running
8 20 Erik Jones Toyota 193 0 Running
9 21 Paul Menard Ford 193 0 Running
10 95 Regan Smith Chevrolet 193 0 Running
11 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 193 0 Running
12 62 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 193 1 Running
13 6 Trevor Bayne Ford 193 0 Running
14 41 Kurt Busch Ford 193 108 Running
15 13 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 193 0 Running
16 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 193 0 Running
17 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 193 0 Running
18 00 Joey Gase Chevrolet 193 0 Running
19 43 Bubba Wallace Chevrolet 193 0 Running
20 24 William Byron Chevrolet 193 5 Running
21 37 Chris Buescher Chevrolet 193 0 Running
22 99 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 193 0 Running
23 78 Martin Truex Jnr Toyota 193 0 Running
24 15 Ross Chastain Chevrolet 193 1 Running
25 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 193 0 Running
26 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 193 1 Running
27 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 193 21 Running
28 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 193 46 Running
29 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 193 6 Running
30 32 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 192 2 Running
31 9 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 192 0 Running
32 72 Corey LaJoie Chevrolet 191 0 Running
33 88 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 191 0 Running
34 7 DJ Kennington Chevrolet 190 0 Running
35 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 186 0 Running
36 23 JJ Yeley Ford 185 0 Crash
37 96 Jeffrey Earnhardt Toyota 185 0 Running
38 51 Cody Ware Chevrolet 185 0 Running
39 38 David Ragan Ford 173 0 Running
40 34 Michael McDowell Ford 155 0 Running

Playoff standings Updated*

Pos Driver Pts Cutoff (+/-) Playoff race wins Playoff stage wins
1 Aric Almirola 3087 Clinch 1 0
2 Chase Elliott 3066 Clinch 1 0
3 Kevin Harvick 3128 +63 0 3
4 Kyle Busch 3111 +46 1 0
5 Joey Logano 3104 +39 0 0
6 Kurt Busch 3095 +30 0 1
7 Clint Bowyer 3086 +21 0 0
8 Martin Truex Jnr 3083 +18 0 3
9 Brad Keselowski 3065 -18 1 1
10 Ryan Blaney 3061 -22 1 1
11 Kyle Larson 3047 -36 0 1
12 Alex Bowman 3015 -68 0 0
13 Denny Hamlin 2136 Out 0 0
14 Jimmie Johnson 2128 Out 0 0
15 Austin Dillon 2124 Out 0 0
16 Erik Jones 2108 Out 0 0

* Car #42 (Kyle Larson) penalised 10pts for technical breach

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