Talladega Proves Costly For Playoff Drivers, How The Standings Look Heading to Kansas Now

TALLADEGA, Ala – The 1000Bulbs.com 500 wasn’t a kind race to the 12 remaining Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers. We ran just 57 Laps on Sunday, but on the opening round of pit stops, Ryan Blaney spun his No. 12 Ford getting onto pit road while shown as the race leader.

To add insult to the injury, Blaney was hit with a pit road speeding penalty too. That was just the start of what would be a wild race weekend for literally all of the playoff contenders.

Luckily for him, he rebounded to win and advance to the Round of 8 as a result.

After a nearly 24 hour weather delay though, we got back going on Monday afternoon. 39 of the 40 engines were fired at 2:03 p.m. ET/1:03 p.m. locally. Notice I say 39, not 40. There’s a reason for that.

Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford wouldn’t fire, so he had to get pushed around the 2.66-mile track by a tow truck until it did. That was the calm before the storm for the others.

Alex Bowman is hit by Kyle Larson in the Lap 106 crash Monday at the Talladega Superspeedway

On Lap 106, Clint Bowyer was giving Joey Logano a big push on the backstretch which sent Logano out to a charge for the lead. Unfortunately, Alex Bowman moved to block Logano’s run, which sparked a 10 car crash in Turn 3. Out of the 10 cars collected, six were playoff drivers.

Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson all were playoff drivers included.

On Lap 152, Clint Bowyer’s tire went down in Turn 3 which meant another playoff drivers had a problem. Over the next 30 laps, we’d see two more big ones in Turn 3.

On Lap 162, Kurt Busch was getting a big push from behind which sent Busch into William Byron. Byron, lost control of his No. 24 Chevrolet and spun into Logano who was racing in the line above him. That collected several other cars too.

That wasn’t it though.

On Lap 181, Kurt Busch pushed Kyle Busch too hard on the backstretch…stop me if you’ve heard that before, and that contact got Kyle Busch sideways into Turn 3. This was the scariest incident of all which left Brendan Gaughan airborne and flipping over Kurt Busch in the air before coming back down on all four wheels after. Brad Keselowski and others were also collected meaning literally all 12 drivers were involved in an incident this weekend.

How crucial were these incidents? Bowman, went from -20 prior to the Lap 162 crash to +7 after. Then, following the Lap 181 crash, he was back to -7 again. He’d end up -18 once Blaney reached victory lane in the sixth closest finish ever.

For Logano, Keselowski, Bowyer and Byron, they scored some good stage points to keep them in contention. They scored 18, 14, 13 and 10 respectively. That kept them in the positions that they’re in.

But, the bottom four will consist of three Hendrick drivers are Bowyer. All three Hendrick cars ran strong this weekend but were all collected in crashed too though.

Heading into the day, the points read –

  1. Kyle Larson (Win)

  2. Martin Truex Jr. +63

  3. Kyle Busch +48

  4. Denny Hamlin +48

  5. Kevin Harvick +42

  6. Brad Keselowski +20

  7. Alex Bowman +17

  8. William Byron +0

  9. Joey Logano -0

  10. Clint Bowyer -4

  11. Chase Elliott -7

  12. Ryan Blaney -22

We leave like this –

  1. Kyle Larson (Win)

  2. Ryan Blaney (Win)

  3. Denny Hamlin +56

  4. Martin Truex Jr. +48

  5. Kyle Busch +41

  6. Kevin Harvick +36

  7. Brad Keselowski +20

  8. Joey Logano +18

  9. Alex Bowman -18

  10. Chase Elliott -22

  11. Clint Bowyer -24

  12. William Byron -27

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