Event: Alabama 500 (Round 31 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (55 laps/55 laps/78 laps)
Start/Finish: 22nd/20th (Accident, completed 176 of 188 laps)
Point Standing: 4th with 3,089 points, 22 points ahead of ninth place with one race to go before the Round of 8
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):
- Kevin Harvick started 22nd, finished 23rd.
- The Busch Light Outdoors Ford dropped to the rear of the field for a safety modification after Cup Series qualifying.
- Harvick raced the No. 4 Busch Light Outdoors Ford into the top-10 by lap 11.
- The Bakersfield, California, native brought the No. 4 Ford to pit road for fuel on lap 14 and returned to the track in the 35th position.
- The pit strategy allowed the No. 4 team to avoid a lap-27 wreck and advance to sixth for the restart on lap 36.
- The No. 4 team came to pit road under caution on lap 52 for four tires and fuel and restarted 21st with one lap remaining in the stage.
- The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion opted to stay out instead of come to pit road at the conclusion of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):
- Started 10th, finished eighth and earned three bonus points.
- Harvick joined his Ford teammates for a scheduled green-flag pit stop for fuel only on lap 66.
- The No. 4 Busch Light Outdoors Ford came to pit road under caution on lap 84 for four tires and fuel.
- Harvick restarted 29th on lap 88 and raced his way into the top-10 by the conclusion of the stage.
- The No. 4 team pitted at the end of the stage for four tires and fuel.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-188):
- Started seventh, finished 20th.
- The Busch Light Outdoors Ford came to pit road from the 16th position for two tires and fuel on lap 144.
- Harvick brought the No. 4 Ford to pit road under caution on lap 153 for four tires and fuel and stayed out under caution on lap 155.
- The team stayed out under caution on lap 169 and restarted 20th with 18 laps remaining.
- Harvick was collected in a multicar wreck on lap 172. His racecar suffered significant damage, which the team was able to repair on pit road, and Harvick restarted in the 19th position.
- The No. 4 car was collected in a second multicar wreck on lap 177 and retired from the race.
- Harvick finished eighth in Stage 2 to collect three bonus points.
- There were 11 caution periods for a total of 47 laps.
- Only 13 of the 40 drivers in the Alabama 500 finished on the lead lap.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Outdoors Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I’m fine. The last one, we slowed down and I got in the back of the 75. I checked up and then the 21 popped up on the racetrack and I couldn’t get slowed down. It was just a bad weekend. The Busch Light Ford wasn’t as good as we needed. We had to start in the back and went to the back a couple other times and just couldn’t make anything happen. We were on defense the whole time and wound up wrecked twice, so not a good weekend.”
Playoff Standings (with one race to go before the Round of 8):
- Martin Truex Jr. (3,120 points) 1 win
- Brad Keselowski (3,101 points, -19) 1 win
- Kyle Larson (3,096 points, -24) +29 points
- Kevin Harvick (3,089 points, -31) +22 points
- Denny Hamlin (3,088 points, -32) +21 points
- Chase Elliott (3,087 points, -33) +20 points
- Ryan Blaney (3,076 points, -44) +9 points
- Jimmie Johnson (3,074 points, -46) +7 points
- Kyle Busch (3,067 points, -53) -7 points
- Matt Kenseth (3,066 points, -54) -8 points
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (3,052 points, -68) -22 points
- Jamie McMurray (3,045 points, -75) -29 points
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 22 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN beginning at 1 p.m. MRN Radio and SiriusXM Channel 90 will provide the radio call.