MENCS: Aric Almirola ends winless streak at Talladega
Aric Almirola won Sunday's 1000 Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Almirola passed his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch on the Turn 4 exit to grab his first win of the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series season and advance into the third round of the playoffs.
"This is so awesome! It's Talladega! You guys are awesome," Almirola yelled to fans after his victory. "I've been so close so many times this year and this team, everybody believing in me, Tony Stewart, Gene Haas, thank you for giving me a chance.
"Four or five times this year i feel like we've had a shot to win and haven't been able to seal the deal. To come here, a place that i love - I won an Xfinity race here last year - I just love racing at Talladega.
"I came to this track with the mindset that we were going to race and give them hell. If we wrecked, we wrecked, and if we win, we win - and we won!"
Sunday ended his Almirola's 149-race winless streak in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
Rounding out the top five were Clint Bowyer in second, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in third, Denny Hamlin in fourth and Joey Logano in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were AJ Allmendinger in sixth, Jimmie Johnson in seventh, Erik Jones in eighth, Paul Menard in ninth and Regan Smith in tenth.
Stewart-Haas Racing as a whole dominated on Sunday however, making it to the end for them was an issue and many other drivers at the front of the pack. The Stewart-Haas Racing organization last pitted on lap 138 of the scheduled 188 lap race that would go into overtime because of a wreck with three laps remaining.
Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer were running in the top four at the time of the incident. Harvick would have to exit the track and head for pit road before the race would go back to green with two laps to go.
The big one occurred when the field entered turn 1 on the final lap but NASCAR would keep the race green until the finish. Chase Elliott who won last week at Dover was involved in the crash on the final lap and would not get to finish the race.
The Monster Energy Cup Series heads into Kansas Speedway in the Round of 12 elimination race. Coverage begins next Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Race Winner: Aric Almirola
Point Standings: 1. Chase Elliott (Dover win)
2. Aric Almirola (Talladega win)
3. Kevin Harvick (+63 ahead of 8th place cutoff)
4. Kyle Busch (+46)
5. Joey Logano (+39)
6. Kurt Busch (+30)
7. Clint Bowyer (+21)
8. Martin Truex Jr. (+18)
9. Brad Keselowski (-18 behind 8th place cutoff)
10. Ryan Blaney (-22)
11. Kyle Larson (-26)
12. Alex Bowman (-68)
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