Almirola Wins At Talladega

Keselowski, Blaney, Larson And Bowman Now Outside Playoff Cut Line

Scott Stiller
October 15, 2018 - 1:34 pm
Stewart-Haas Racing's Aric Almirola Celebrates 1000Bulbs.com Win At Talladega Superspeedway

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Talladega, AL (93.7 The Fan) - Aric Almirola passed Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch on the last lap of NASCAR overtime to win Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  The win was the first of the season for Almirola and second of his career.

“Today was sweet,” said Almirola.  “To go to Victory Lane in such a clutch moment, in the Playoffs, down 10 points coming into this weekend, knowing this was an opportunity race for us, winning here today was really special.  Like I said, I can count on my hand five or six races that I feel like we should have won this year, and it didn't work out, didn't happen.  Today the good Lord was shining down on us and we were able to go to Victory Lane.  It was a special day”.

Almirola’s win locked him into Round 3 of NASCAR’s Playoffs along with Chase Elliott, who won last week at Dover.  The win took the pressure off Almirola, who came into the event 10-points behind the 8th place cut-off to advance to the next round.  Almirola currently sits in 5th place in points.

Almirola finished .105-seconds ahead of teammate Clint Bowyer, who also came into the race 10-points behind the 8th place cut-off for Round 3.  Bowyer’s 2nd place finish moved him up to 6th in points, one point behind Almirola for fifth.  Bowyer said the SHR cars working together was key.

“I think we owe it to each other to pit with one another, try to help one another, more than likely when we're with each other, that's our best opportunity at stage points and everything else,” said Bowyer.  “But after the frustrating run at Dover, I had to gain some points.  It didn't do any good to get good stage points if the guys that I'm racing for this next round do it, as well.  I had to get separated some way, shape or form.  I mean, that guy sitting in Victory Lane right there, as happy as I am for him, that's a spot that just went away for that next round”.

Drivers on the outside of the playoff cut-line going into next weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway include Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski, who trails Martin Truex Jr. by 18-points and Ryan Blaney, who trails Truex by 22-points.  Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson is 26-points back of Truex and Hendrick Motorsports Alex Bowman, who is 68-points back from transferring.

The final race in the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 is Sunday, October 21 at Kansas Speedway with the green flag scheduled for 2:36 p.m. ET.

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