Monster Energy Cup: Alabama 500

This weekend the Monster Energy Cup Series travels to Talladega along with the Camping World Truck Series for a doubleheader weekend.

1105px-Kyle_leads_the_packBy 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

A restrictor plate track, thee is only two rounds of single car qualifying at Talladega to determine who will sit on the pole for Sunday’s Alabama 500. After two rounds of qualifying with a time of 50.256 Dale Earnhardt Jr wins his first Talladega pole.

Dale_Earnhardt_Jr_2008_CroppedBy U.S. National Guard. The work gives no specific photo credit. – http://www.ngb.army.mil/features/NASCAR/photos.aspx, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4037892

The starting lineup for the Alabama 500:
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Chase Elliott – in the playoffs
Joey Logano
Kurt Busch – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments
Ricky Stenhouse Jr – in the pla yoffs
Brad Keselowski – in the playoffs
Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson in the playoffs
Ryan Blaney – in the playoffs
Trevor Bayne
Kasey Kahne
Kyle Larson – in the playoffs
Danica Patrick
Daniel Suarez
Denny Hamlin – in the playoffs
Kyle Busch – in the playoffs
Jamie McMurray – in the playoffs
Austin Dillon
Matt Kenseth – in the playoffs
Paul Menard
Martin Truex Jr – in the playoffs
Kevin Harvick – in the playoffs – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments
Erik Jones
AJ Allmendinger
Ty Dillon
Aric Almirola
Ryan Newman
Chris Buescher
Michael McDowell
Landon Cassill
Justin Marks
Matt DiBenedetto
David Ragan
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Brendan Gaughan
Mark Thompson – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments
Joey Gase
Cole Whitt
Cray Gaulding
D.J. Kennington – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments

Stages one and two of the race are 55 laps each with stage three lasting 78 laps for a total of 188 laps around the 2.66 mile track.

Earning his first ever Talladega pole in his last race at NASCAR’s biggest track, Dale Earnhardt Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and gets out in front for the lead but Joey Logano edges out Earnhardt to lead the first lap.

Brad Keselowski won stage one with Ryan Blaney winnng stage two.

Every driver goes into the restrictor plate races knowing that they may get caught up in “the big one”. The Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was no exception. In a race that took over four hours to complete; “the big one” took out 16 cars, had three red flags, and ended with only 14 cars on the track.

Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski outlasted them all to take home the checkered flag to earn his fifth Talladega win. This was Keselowski’s thrid win of the season and his 24th career win in Monster Energy Cup.

Brad_Keselowski_NAVY

080301-N-5487R-0010 LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 1, 2008) – No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Monte Carlo driver Brad Keselowski talks to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Adam Coleman prior to the start of the Sam’s Club 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coleman, one of the Navy’s Fleet Honorees selected for the race, recently returned from deployment in the Middle East where he was awarded the Purple Heart. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Andrea Ross (released).

Keselowski and Denny Hamlin were the only playoff drivers to finsh the race on the track. Jamie McMurray was the first playoff driver to be knocked out of the race on lap 25 when he was involved in a six car pile up. Points leader Martin Truex Jr, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick were all involved in the 16 car crash – “the big one” – and brought out the first red flag.

Next Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney waere knocked out of the race in a crash that brought out the second red flag.

Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson were involved in a six car crash that brought out the third caution flag of the race.

Jimmie Johnson’s car was parked after it was deemed that his crew worked on the car during a red flag condition. Teams are not allowed to do any repair work on a car when the red flag has been displayed.

There were a total of eleven caution flags in the race comprising 25 percent of the race.

The various melees left the playoff standings in a jumble with Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse, and Jamie McMurray under the cut line and facing elimination after the race in Kansas on October 22.

The results of the Alabama 500:
Brad Keselowski
Ryan Newman
Trevor Bayne
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Denny Hamlin
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Kasey Kahne
Gray Gaulding
David Ragan
Ty Dillon
Paul Mendard
Kyle Larson
Matt Kenseth
Daniel Suarez
Chase Elliott
Chris Buescher
Ryan Blaney
Brendan Gaughan
Kevin Harvick
Danica Patrick
AJ Allmendinger
Martin Truex Jr
Jimmie Johnson
Kurt Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kyle Busch
Landon Cassill
Austin Dillon
Michael McDowell
Matt DiBenedetto
Joey Gase
D.J. Kennington
Cole Whitt
Clint Bowyer
Erik Jones
Jamie McMurray
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Mark Thompson
Justin Marks


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