Event: YellaWood 500 (Round 31 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/68 laps)
Note: Race extended 12 laps past its scheduled 188-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 9th/33rd (Accident, completed 108 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 11th with 3,036 points, 37 points below top-eight cutoff
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Chris Buescher of Roush-Fenway Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex, Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Clint Bowyer started ninth and finished 19th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/BlueDEF Platinum Mustang held its position through three cautions in first 12 laps.
● Bowyer moved to third by the lap-25 caution. He pitted for fuel and restarted third on lap 30.
● Bowyer wisely pulled out of the draft just before a lap-59, multicar accident took out or damaged several playoff contenders.
● During the stage break the No. 14 took four tires and fuel.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Bowyer started 18th and finished 33rd.
● As the laps wound down in the stage the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/BlueDEF Platinum Mustang raced in the top-10 and appeared in good position to collect bonus points.
● Bowyer made contact with Jimmie Johnson in the trioval on lap 108 triggering a seven-car accident. NASCAR stopped the race for 10 minutes, but severe damage kept the No. 14 from continuing in the race.
● Denny Hamlin won the YellaWood 500 to score his 44th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his seventh of the season and his second at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was .086 of a second.
● There were 13 caution periods for a total of 54 laps.
● Twenty-two of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Hamlin leaves Talladega as the championship leader with a 20-point advantage over second-place Kevin Harvick.
Playoff Standings (with one race to go before the Round of 8)
1. Denny Hamlin (3,141 points) 1 win
2. Kurt Busch (3,048 points) 1 win
3. Kevin Harvick (3,121 points) +68 points
4. Brad Keselowski (3,094 points) +41 points
5. Martin Truex, Jr. (3,085 points) +32 points
6. Chase Elliott (3,080 points) +27 points
7. Alex Bowman (3,075 points) +22 points
8. Joey Logano (3,074 points) +21 points
9. Austin Dillon (3,053 points) -21 points
10. Kyle Busch (3,053 points) -21 points
11. Clint Bowyer (3,036 points) -37 points
12. Aric Almirola (3,026 points) -48 points
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/BlueDEF Platinum Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“As soon as I got to (Jimmie Johnson) I pushed him and the whole rear of the car went down and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and before I know it he was tank swapping all over the place. I don’t know if that was how they had their cars built or whatever, but as soon as you got close to him he was all over the place. Obviously didn’t mean to wreck him, but you’re going hard and three-wide and people are behind you pushing. I was hoping he would save it, but he didn’t and we all wrecked.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday, Oct. 11 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway road course. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.