MENCS Talladega Playoff Race

Hendrick Motorsports swept the first four qualifying spots in the second race in the Round of 12 at Talladega. Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman would take the lap 1 green flag from the 1 and 2 positions, and that was about as calm as this rain-delayed, caution filled, car flipping, photo-finish race would be.

Stage 1

The opening laps of this race were calm (as calm as this track can be), with the only big mover being the 18 car of Kyle Busch who qualified 26th but found himself in the lead by lap 6. Once he had that lead, Busch jumped out and tried to gain on the field but a three-wide battle from the 3 car of Austin Dillon and the 1 car of Kurt Busch would give Dillon the lead and shuffle Busch back. Kurt Busch would eventually take this lead, but that would quickly be taken away by the 12 car of Ryan Blaney. Green flag stops began to cycle through on lap 34 with leader Ryan Blaney and the rest of the Fords going first, but that scheduled stop didn’t go as planned. Blaney spun as he entered pit lane, sliding through the grass but was able to come out clean so the field stayed green. The rest of the field was quick to follow a lap later. The caution comes out as the 52 of Spencer Boyd has come to come to a stop. The 2 car of Brad Keselowski led the field to green and he was able to jump ahead of the field after a strong push from the 14 car of Clint Bowyer. Kurt Busch and the 9 car of Chase Elliott began to catch up to Keselowski and Bowyer towards the end of the stage. A three-wide battle of the lead by Logano, Byron and Elliott began. Elliott begins to fall back and Logano and Byron are battling for the stage win. Young gun William Byron is able to hold off defending champion Logano to earn the stage win.

Stage 1 Results:

  1. William Byron (P)
  2. Joey Logano (P)
  3. Alex Bowman (P)
  4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  5. Brad Keselowski (P)
  6. Kyle Larson (P)
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Daniel Suarez
  9. Ryan Blaney (P)
  10. Kurt Busch

Stage 2

This would be all the action we would get to see on Sunday. Heavy rainfall led to this race being postponed to Monday (10/14). A day later, Byron heads down to pit road and is beaten off by Blaney who then leads the field to green. Blaney is able to hold off an early three-wide and maintains the lead for a short while until the outside lane led by Bowyer shuffles him back with Logano sliding into the lead. Logano is sliding up and down the track to block both lanes but Elliott is able to make the pass for the lead. Elliott is able to hold off the incoming Team Penske train before the beginning of green-flag stops. Teams of manufacturers head down together as the field cycles through. Elliott is able to take the lead away from teammate Jimmie Johnson. Bowyer then begins to push Logano with less than 10 laps to go in the stage. Bowyer lays off of Logano’s bumper to cool down his engine and Elliott takes advantage and jumps to the lead with 5 to go. Bowman tries to block the incoming car of Logano, and a tag from Logano spins Bowman’s car sliding him up the track as he collected multiple cars including Elliott, Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson which gave Clint Bowyer the stage win under yellow.

Stage 2 Results:

  1. Clint Bowyer (P)
  2. Joey Logano (P)
  3. Brade Keselowski (P)
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Daniel Suarez
  6. Ryan Blaney (P)
  7. Chris Buescher
  8. William Byron (P)
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Kyle Busch (P)

Final Stage:

Keselowski wins the race off of pit road and battles with Bowyer as the green flag drops. Bowyer would eventually gain the advantage and take the lead, but a few laps later the yellow was back out after contact between Bubba Wallace and Blake Jones. The script was flipped with Keselowski pushing Bowyer on the restart, but Erik Jones would be pushing teammate Kyle Busch at the same time, giving Busch the lead. 10 laps later the caution comes out for debris after Truex Jr. blew a tire. This caution providing a pitting opportunity, and a splash-and-dash stop for Ricky Stenhouse Jr would win him the race off of pit road and give him the lead on the restart. After collecting damage from an earlier wreck, Elliott was back in the picture and was battling up front with Kyle Busch. Bowyer would bring out the caution after getting stuck on the apron with a blown tire. The field goes to pit again and Byron takes a note out of Stenhouse Jr’s book with a fuel-only stop. Byron would lead the field on the restart, but the yellow would quickly come back out as Byron spun into Logano, collecting multiple cars with them. The green flag is dropped and Kurt Busch would battle with Stenhouse Jr. for the lead. Kyle Busch comes back into the picture to battle for the lead. But some friendly fire would ruin either Busch brother’s chance for a win after a slight collision by the two would cause the biggest “Big One” of the day. This wreck would cause Brendan Gaughan’s car to flip, with playoff drivers like Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski being collected. The red flag comes out for cleanup and the field would return to green with Ryan Blaney in the lead. Blaney would battle with the 6 car of Ryan Newman for the remaining few laps. The two cars would be bumping all the way to the line, with Blaney getting the win by just a few inches, advancing him to the round of 8.

Final Results

  1. Ryan Blaney (P)
  2. Ryan Newman
  3. Denny Hamlin (P)
  4. Aric Almirola
  5. Michael McDowell
  6. Austin Dillon
  7. Corey LaJoie
  8. Chase Elliott (P)
  9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  10. Ty Dillon
  11. Joey Logano (P)
  12. Ross Chastain
  13. Matt Tifft
  14. Landon Cassill
  15. Parker Kligerman
  16. Paul Menard
  17. Kevin Harvick (P)
  18. Ryan Preece
  19. Kyle Busch (P)
  20. Chris Buescher
  21. Daniel Hemric
  22. Reed Sorenson
  23. Clint Bowyer (P)
  24. Bubba Wallace
  25. Brad Keselowski (P)
  26. Martin Truex Jr. (P)
  27. Brendan Gaughan
  28. Kurt Busch
  29. David Ragan
  30. Matt DiBenedetto
  31. Blake Jones
  32. Daniel Suarez
  33. William Byron (P)
  34. Erik Jones
  35. Austin Theriault
  36. Joey Gase
  37. Alex Bowman (P)
  38. Jimmie Johnson
  39. Kyle Larson (P)
  40. Spencer Boyd



Print Friendly, PDF & Email