Aric Almirola secures overtime victory — NASCAR Talledega

Annette Crawford
October 20, 2018

Stewart-Haas Racing's Aric Almirola became the second driver to clinch a spot in the third of four rounds in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, the round of 8.

He was part of a four-car Ford tandem that dominated the entire race. Almirola came close time and again this year but fell short. Before that restart, Harvick, who had led 46 laps, had to pit for fuel. Had the yellow been called on that final lap, Busch probably would have won the race.

The four Ford teammates have worked together to stay at the front of the field and out of traffic during Sunday's race.

"The four of us (SHR drivers) were so committed to each other and so organized, the field couldn't touch us".

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.

Kyle Larson's championship chances took a huge hit when he crashed during the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway. After unapproved adjustments to the vehicle, Larson started last on Sunday. "Then on Sunday, very similar in terms of a auto hitting the wall, but where it happened was different and in terms of where the field was".

Hendrick Motorsports announced earlier this week that Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus will split at the end of this season, their 17th together. 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.

"At the end, once we cross the white flag if there's a wreck and an ambulance needs to be dispatched - I've been on the other side of that where I was racing coming back to win the race, and they said, well we had to dispatch an ambulance", said Busch.

Busch started from the pole and led all but one of the 55 laps in the first stage.

But the dynamics changed when Alex Bowman spun with three laps remaining to bring out an ill-timed caution.

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. They finished in second and fifth in their #14 Ford and #22 Ford, respectively, and both drivers now sit ahead of the round of 8 cut line.

Playoff driver Brad Keselowski developed a vibration during the first stage and dropped to 34th. But the Stewart-Haas drivers orchestrated themselves to nose to tail at the front of the preferred inside line. On the restart Kurt Busch held onto the lead with Almirola right behind him and it looked like he was heading for the win when his engine sputtered, opening the way for Almirola to zip by him and cross the finish line.105 ahead of teammate Clint Bowyer. The four-driver Chevrolet contingent from Hendrick Motorsports is lined up behind SHR, and three Toyota drivers follow. Truex had no choice but to run in the back of the field and try to stay out of trouble.

Big implications in the playoffs as NASCAR heads to Kansas for the final race in the round of 12.

It means there's very little room for error Sunday at Talladega.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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