After two weeks of short track racing, the Monster Energy Cup Series travels to the largest track of the NASCAR circuit with the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
In Saturday afternoon qualifying, Ricky Stenhouse Jr ran a lap of less than 50 seconds to earn his second career pole.
The starting lineup for the Geico 500:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Martin Truex Jr
Brendan Gaughan – moved to the back of the field for an unapproved tire change
DJ Kennington did not qualify for the race.
Stages one and two will last 55 laps with the final stage lasting 78 laps to make up the 188 laps for 500 miles.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of the race before a packed house.Stenhouse edges out Dale Earnhardt Jr to lead the race on lap one for his first lap lead of the season.
The drivers are already three wide on lap four.
Lap six the drivers have gotten four wide across the track while running 200 miles per hour.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr continues to lead the race.
Nine laps complete and Ricky Stenhouse Jr has led all of them.
Lap 14 leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr has debris on the grille of his car. He gives up the lead to Brad Keselowski to get the debris off.
The caution flag comes out on lap 17 when Kyle Larson cuts a tire hitting the wall. Jeffrey Earnhardt is the “lucky dog”.
Kyle Larson is on the five minute clock to make repairs on his car.
Taking only fuel Clint Bowyer wins the race off of pit road.
Kyle Larson has returned to the track.
Clint Bowyer brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 22 for his first lead of the season. Bowyer and Kevin Harvick run side by side with Harvick edging out for the lead.
But Clint Bowyer retake the lead for his first green flag lead of the season.
Kevin Harvick challenges team mate Clint Bowyer for the lead of the race and are swapping the lead back and forth. Clint Bowyer takes the lead on lap 25.
Kyle Busch takes over the lead of the race on lap 28.
Lap 34 Brad Keselowski takes over the lead of the race. Thre is some debris on his grille.
Lap 39 Brad Keselowski is leading the race, he still has some debris on his grille. Keselowski moves to block Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr from taking the lead.
Lap 43 Brad Keselowski has a tenth of a second lead on Ryan Blaney.
Ricky tenhouse Jr challenges Brad Keselowski for the lead on lap 43, but so far Keselowski holds on to the lead.
Kevin Harvick is reporting a bad vibration and has dropped back in the field.
Denny Hamlin makes a pit stop three laps before the end of the stage.
Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth also came down pit road just before the pits closed for the end of stage one.
Brad Keselowski wins stage one. Jeffrey Earnhardt is the “lucky dog” again for this caution flag.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Martin Truex Jr
Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth pitted when pit road was closed and have to restart at the end of the longest line. Matt Kenseth had a flat tire and has gone a lap down.
Martin Truex Jr leads the race off of pit road.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 63 and takes the lead of the race.
Lap 65 Denny Hamlin leads the race by just over a tenth of a second on Kyle Busch.
Lap 75 Denny Hamlin holds on to the lead by a narrow margin as drivers get three wide behind him get three wide. There are 34 cars on the lead lap with all 40 cars still on the track.
Lap 80 Kyle Busch takes over the lead of the race.
The caution flag comes out on lap 82 when Reed Sorenson cuts a tire and hits the wall.
Taking only fuel Kyle Busch leads the race off of pit road.
Trevor Bayne brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 87 and holds on to the lead. Reed Sorenson is out of the race.
Lap 88 Trevor Bayne, Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon all battle for the lead swapping back and forth but Ryan Newman is triumphant and gets out in front of the field.
Lap 90 Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer battle for the lead of the race, swapping the lead with Clint Bowyer finally taking over the lead of the race.
With 18 laps remaining in the stage Denny Hamlin takes over the lead of the race.
Lap 94 the top three are Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Lap 105 Denny Hamlin continues to lead the field with a tenth of a second lead on Kevin Harvick.
Matt Kenseth pit with three laps remaining in stage two.
Denny Hamlin wins stage two for his first stage win of the season.
The top 10 after stage two:
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson has stalled on pit road.
Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road.
Clint Bowyer was penalzied for having an uncontrolled tire on pit road.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 116 and battles with Matt Kenseth for the lead of the race. Matt Kenseth takes over the lead of the race.
Lap 118 Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth battle for the lead swapping back and forth with Hamlin taking the lead only to have it taken away by Brad Keselowski.
Lap 123 Kevin Harvick takes over the lead of the race.
Jimmie Johnson battle Kevin Harvick for the lead with 58 laps remaining in the race with the two swapping the lead back and forth with Harvick holding on to the lead.
With 56 laps remaining in the race Jimmie Johnson again challenges Kevin Harvick for the lead but Harvick holds on to the lead.
Fifty to go and Kevin Harvick holds on to the lead of the race with only one car out of the race and 35 cars on the lead lap.
With 48 laps remaining in the race Trevor Bayne and Joey Logano battle for the lead with Joey Logano taking the lead of the race.
Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson begins the cycle green flag pit stops.
Lap 144 Joey Logano leads the race but is among the drivers who have yet to make any green flag pit stops.
When the lead pack makes their green flag pit stops Elliott Sadler takes over the lead of the race.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr takes over the lead when Sadler makes his green flag pit stop.
Lap 152 Kyle Busch leads the race after all of the green flag pit stops have cycled through.
The caution flag comes out on lap 160 when Ryan Blaney hits the wall after making contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Gray Gaulding is the “lucky dog”.
Some drivers come down pit road for fresh tires.
Ryan Blaney has taken his car to the garage.
Kyle Busch bring the field down for the green flag restart on lap 165 with Kyle Busch taking the lead of the race.
Lap 165 it’s “the big one” that put AJ Allmendinger on his roof. Chase Elliott’s car gets airborne and landed on the wall. Austin Dillon and Michael McDowell are stopped against the wall. The red flag has been put out while track cleanup and rescue efforts are completed.
The track workers are going to roll Allmendinger’s car over before allowing him to get out of the car safely. Allmendinger is moving around in the car and indicates that he is all right. He walked to the ambulance unassisted.
AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Joey logano, Gray Gaulding, David Ragan, Cole Whitt, Erik Jones, Martin Truex Jr, and Corey JaJoie were all involved.
NASCAR has announced that Chse Elliott and Erik Jones are out of the race for continuing to drive when the red flag was displayed. Elliott’s car suffered a great deal of damage.
After a 27 minute red flag, NASCAR has displayed the yellow flag and repairs can begin with several cars on the five minute clock.
For some of the drivers involved in the crash, it wasn’t the crash damage but oil leaks and busted transmissions that put them out of the race.
Kurt Busch was also involved in the big crash.
Kyle Busch bring the field down for the green flag restart on lap and takes the lead of the race. Landon Cassill has a smoking car and gets down to the bottom of the track with a busted drive shaft.
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch battle for the lead of the race with the two drivers swapping the lead back and forth for a few laps with Kyle Busch taking the lead.
Dale Earnhardt Jr takes his car to pit road for an unscheduled pit stop with a tire issue.
Ten to go and Kyle Busch holds on to the lead of the race with a lead of a tenth of a second.
Landon Cassil brings out the caution flga when he doesn’t get to pit road in time. Dale Jr is the “lucky dog” and will restart in 23rd place.
Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart with only seven laps remaining in the race. Kyle Busch takes the lead after restarting from the outside line.
Five to go and Kyle Busch holds on to the lead of the race as drivers fight for position behind him.
Ryan Newman brings out the caution flag with only three laps to go after spinning out, hitting the wall and running through the grass. Kevin Harvick is the “lucky dog”.
In a green-white-checker finish, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the restart of the race from the outside line and pulls out in front for the lead.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Kyle Busch battle for the lead as they take the white flag. Stenhouse takes the lead.
Cars are five wide across the track.
Pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr holds off Kyle Busch to win the Geico 500 for his first Monster Cup Series win.
The unofficial results of the Geico 500:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Martin Truex Jr
photo courtesy of:
By Curtis Palmer from Vestavia Hills (Birmingham), Alabama, USA – Kyle leads the pack, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3960432
By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41292737
By DennyHamlinAugust2007.jpg: Kim PhillipsDerivative work: NaBUru38 – This file was derived from:DennyHamlinAugust2007.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21237849
By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41276824
Sherrill is an award winning journalist and photographer. Her specialty is music, entertainment, and sports.To date she has had over 6,000 works published - including profiles, news pieces, reviews, and obituaries; both in print and online. She has covered 100's of concerts and conducted numerous interviews including members of One Republic, Clannad, Celtic Thunder, The Wiggles, the J. Geils Band, DoDriver, More Than Me, abd Thunderhand Joe and the Medicine Show.She has also co-authored a book on the history of a Rochester New York Congregation.She is also a photographer and artist whose photographs can be seen in some of her articles.Unless otherwise stated, the photos that appear in the articles belong to her.Sherrill makes her home in the western New York area.Sherrill contributes music and sports news for The Daily Voice News.Contact her at: [email protected]