TALLADEGA, Ala. – Talladega Superspeedway debuted an entirely new infield with a huge covered bar, fan-accessible garages and fun-loving atmosphere. What didn’t change was the on-track action that brought forth mechanized mayhem.
WOW…What a finish
After a third multi-car wreck with less than 10 to go, the field restarted with three laps remaining. They were three wide the second the green flag waved and, in the end, it was Ryan Blaney edging out the leader out of Turn 4 of Ryan Newman at the stripe.
This was his first victory of 2019 and solidifies his moving on in the Playoffs. That leaves seven positions open as the field begins to get narrowed down to the Final Four to compete for the championship at Homestead.
“Hope that was an exciting finish,” Blaney said in Victory Lane. “Thanks for all the fans for sticking around today.”
“I know a lot of guys had their problems today, but we haven’t won all year. This was a huge, huge race for us today. We are moving on to Round 3.”
Newman had to settle for second and was followed by Denny Hamlin to round out the top-three finishers as the series heads to the Cutoff race at Kansas Speedway.
Stage One to Two took Two Days
Overcast skies greeted the 40-car field on Sunday for the initial green flag. As the laps ticked down, the clouds kept getting more ominous and then started raining over the 2.66-mile trioval on lap 57.
Being that it was just three laps shy of the Stage One ending at the 60th circuit, the field remained out before being called to Pit Road. Once there, the rains increased and, with darkness being a factor with no lights at Dega, NASCAR postponed the race until Monday afternoon.
William Byron was the Stage One winner picking up some valuable Playoff points for him and the No. 24 Chevrolet team.
Big One No. 1 on Lap 106
As the field was nearing the end of Stage 2 on Monday at Lap 110, a huge multi-car wreck was triggered by Joey Logano and Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet. Bowman got in front of Logano’s No. 22 Ford, Bowman came out the loser as Logano butt slammed him towards the inside, before spinning back up in front of the oncoming 200-mph field.
There were nine cars involved with many of them being Playoff drivers. When the speedy dry dust settled, Clint Bowyer as the Stage 2 winner.
Big One No. 2
Another Big One was set off when Byron spun taking a hard right into Logano, who went airborne and into the outside wall. That, in turn, collected many other drivers including Byron’s teammates of Hendrick Motorsports in Bowman and Jimmie Johnson.
Also involved were Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Matt Crafton filling in for Paul Menard, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Preece and Austin Thereault.
Big One No. 3 Nine to Go
As if enough mayhem hadn’t taken place, already, there was a third Big One as the leaders were heading into Turn 3 going three wide.
Kyle Busch got turned running in the middle, went to the outside and collected Brad Keselowski. In turn, a multi-car wreck ensued with Brendan Gaughan making a complete flip coming back down on his wheels.
Also collected were Kurt Busch, Matt DiBennedetto, David Ragan and others.
The good news is everyone walked away uninjured, the bad news there will be some full dumpsters of scrap metal at various race shops on Tuesday.
Sauter Wins Truck Race…Wait, Did He?
Johnny Sauter was the first Truck across the finish line on Saturday afternoon for the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race. After holding off a hard charging field, he took the checkered flag, did the burnouts and was headed for Victory Lane.
However, as they were coming out of Turn 4 to the finish line, NASCAR ruled Sauter forced Riley Herbst below the yellow line on the inner part of the track. While doing so, Sauter’s truck also went below the yellow line.
With minutes, NASCAR ruled Sauter did not, indeed, win the race and that was awarded to second-place finisher Spencer Boyd. This was his first career victory.
Local favorite Stewart Friesen finished fifth, despite two penalties by NASCAR during the race, and is now second in overall points as the series heads to Martinsville in two weeks.
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