Almirola Wins at Talladega to Advance to the Round of 8

Almirola Wins at Talladega to Advance to the Round of 8

That's really bad news if it catches you. Post-Kansas, the field will be trimmed to eight, after which three more races will produce a "Championship 4" showdown going into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "The guys that qualified good are the ones you would expect to".

Then there's a question of how many risks you're willing to take.

More important, it showed that SHR arrived at Talladega prepared to work as a four-car team and ensure one of its drivers made it to victory lane. That could mean hanging it all out in true "checkers or wreckers" fashion.

Talladega had an "enhanced weekend" in which Cup cars were on track two days instead of three, with just one practice session prior to Sunday's race. It's not hard to get lined up and into a single file group to put some space between you and the pack. It marked Busch's first restrictor plate pole. But the Stewart-Haas drivers orchestrated themselves to nose to tail at the front of the preferred inside line. It as a fast session, too, as Harvick led 23 other drivers to speeds over 200 miles per hour. Six laps later, Enfinger was knocked from the lead by Gilliland's father, David, who was in second. Ironically, the Stewart-Hass team claimed the top four spots during qualifying, with Kevin Harvick claiming 3rd and Aric Almirola in 4th.

Kurt Busch was one corner and a straightaway from his second victory of the season and an automatic ticket into the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Ryan Blaney was the big victor on the restart that began the second stage, jumping up six spots on pit road. Harvick, Truex and Kyle Busch have combined to win the last five races at Kansas. He had to force Gragson out of his way to get to the front.

Just when it appeared the stage would end with no drama of any sort, Larson blew a tire and went around with less than seven to go. Trying to hustle his No. 10 Ford through the first two corners, he clipped the outside wall near the exit from Turn 2 and triggered a five-car wreck that damaged the cars of four other Playoff contenders. First, drivers were forced to burn fuel during a long cleanup period under caution before overtime.

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1st #10 Aric Almirola 3087 points locked into the round of 8 with a win at Talladega. "That was the easiest Talladega of my life and it was because of the rocket ships they brought us to race".

Kyle Busch elected to stay out, but almost every other lead lap auto came to the pits, with Kurt Busch beating Keselowski off pit road.

Tony Stewart hired Aric Almirola because he believed the journeyman would win races for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Considering this is Talladega we're talking about, the race was unlikely to stay green the rest of the way, and it did not.

If one of the four drivers who now sit below the round of 8 cut line, including Keselowski, Team Penske's Ryan Blaney, Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports' Alex Bowman, wins the Hollywood Casino 400, the round of 8 cut line would effectively move up by one spot.

He edged teammate Clint Bowyer, who qualified second, ahead of Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola as the Ford horsepower built by Doug Yates' engine shop proved superior in qualifying.

A caution with 29 laps to go set up a restart and a chance to split up the SHR foursome.

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