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NASCAR Xfinity: Aric Almirola wins at Talladega

Aric Almirola with the Sparks Energy 300 winner's trophy at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Aric Almirola with the Sparks Energy 300 winner’s trophy at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola claimed his third-career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, his second in a restrictor-plate race, Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the Sparks Energy 300.
“It means so much,” Almirola said. .”First, I want to thank Got, and then, I want to thank Fresh from Florida and everybody at the Biagi-DenBeste race team. They let me run this thing seven or eight times a year, and I have so much fun, especially at the speedway races.”
As Almirola took the checkered flag, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Ryan Sieg crashed behind him — Wallace into the inside retaining wall and Sieg into the infield grass.
“I was really worried that the caution was going to come out, especially when the 22 (Joey Logano) just barely got a nose ahead getting into turn three,” Almirola said. “I was like, ‘Come on, please don’t throw that caution,’ because I wanted to at least have a shot for us to race back to the start/finish line. I did see the cars wrecking behind us.”
Elliott Sadler took runner-up honors. Other top-five finishers included Joey Logano, Ben Kennedy and Erik Jones.
“I learned a lot out there today in the Rheem Chevrolet,” Kennedy said. “I knocked the rust off of it the first couple of laps and then started to get after it. On the last lap, Joey Logano and I had a run, but we just kin dof lost our momentum on the high side. It’s amazing how these cars run and the lines they run. I got a lot out of today, and I’m really happy with the finish. It was a lot of fun.
Logano took the race lead with five laps to go, but after a three-wide battle for the top-spot, Almirola came away with the lead.
“Man, we were so close,” Logano said. “Aggravating, but so much fun. I love racing here at Talladega in these Xfinity cars. The draft is so crazy and different. The runs come so quick, and it’s hard to block them. You have to physically block them with your car, and it’s really tight.”
Most of race field cycled through green-flag pit stops with just over 40 laps remaining, but Jeff Green stayed out several additional laps to lead before pitting and turning the lead back over to Justin Allgaier with 23 laps to go. Allgaier then led a five-car pack that included a couple more JR Motorsports drivers — Sadler and Michael Annett.
Allgaier and JR Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne were among the first to pit under green, and they made contact with each other getting into their pit stalls. While Allgaier was able to continue up front, though, Kahne struggled. He returned to pit road during the final caution with 16 laps remaining and was held a lap by NASCAR for pitting outside his pit box.
Logano also pitted during the final caution, soon after dealing with an overheating issue caused by debris on his grill. With the frontrunners staying out, Logano restarted 10th but on newer tires. He was back up front with nine laps remaining.
The first two 25-lap stages that accounted for most of the first half of the 113 laps included two multi-car wrecks that led to red flags. The second caution of the race on lap 21 was for a nine-car crash that involved Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones and Scott Lagasse Jr., among others.
Lagasse also was involved in seven-car crash that brought an end to stage two on lap 50. Other drivers in that wreck included Cole Custer, Ryan Reed, pole sitter Blake Koch, and Brendan Gaughan.
Almirola, the stage one winner, took responsibility for starting the second crash with a botched attempt at bump-drafting.
The first crash near the end of the first stage resulted in varying pit strategies. By being among those who stayed out, Almirola took the race lead. After the stage ended, he gave up the top spot to pit, handing the lead over Michael Annett to start the second stage. Annett pitted during the lap-21 caution.
Ty Dillon, who restarted second after staying out between stages, took the lead early in stage two, but some of those who pitted got back up toward the front in the matter of a few laps. Logano ran from mid-pack on the restart to be the race leader by lap 37.
Allgaier was up front when the yellow flag waved at the end of stage two to claim a stage win for the second-consecutive week.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Matt Tifft, Annett, Allgaier, Suarez and Green.
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Posted by on May 7, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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