The NASCAR Cup Series visited Talladega Superspeedway for the first time this season. And while the Next Gen car might have changed a few things, racing at NASCAR’s largest track is still all about the finish. Everything else about running around the 2.66-mile oval is centered on getting up to the front of the field and preparing for the finish.
The first stage ended under caution with 23XI’s now-perennial superspeedway front-runner Bubba Wallace leading. The second stage concluded with the field trying to chase down a freight train of all four Hendrick Motorsports cars led by William Byron. Byron won the stage, followed by Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.
The biggest incident of the day wasn’t a proper Big One, but it still involved several cars. On a restart during the second stage, the cars at the front on the outside lane bunched up, resulting in Bubba Wallace sending Penske’s Joey Logano into the outside wall. Logano rebounded back down the track and collected at least seven other cars.
After the final round of pit stops, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson led the race in a single-file line. Larson took control at the front by swinging around the outside as Hamlin faded and eventually ran out of fuel. It seemed that Byron and Elliott would pull a second line up to the front to reconnect with the Hendrick teammate like in the second stage, but Petty GMS’ Erik Jones jumped out in front of the second line.
Jones would pull down in front of Larson and eventually led the field on the run to the checkered flag. Larson pulled out of line to try and win the race, putting both 23XI cars in the wall in the process. Jones moved up to block Larson’s run, opening the door for Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain to have a clear path to the finish line. Chastain won the GEICO 500 by a tenth-of-a-second over Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, the watermelon farmer’s second win of the season.
Race Results – Top 10
- Ross Chastain
- Austin Dillon
- Kyle Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Erik Jones
- Chase Elliott
- Michael McDowell
- Alex Bowman
- Kevin Harvick
The NASCAR Cup Series will return next week at the recently renamed Dover Motor Speedway.