Tuesday, October 15, 2019


0.007 seconds, that’s how close the finish was to Monday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Ryan Blaney edged Ryan Newman for the win and locked himself into the Round of 8.

The rain-delayed thriller was filled with competitive racing throughout both days and plenty of carnage. Blaney experienced some of that adversity on Sunday when he spun onto pit road during Stage 1.

Blaney’s example demonstrated how Talladega can play out. Avoiding big wrecks and being at the right place at the right time led the Team Penske driver to capture the third victory of his career. Also, support at the end from Ford Performance teammate Aric Almirola helped him clinch his spot into the next round of the playoffs.

“Yeah, it was an amazing effort the last two days, to be honest with you,” said Blaney. “We spun out early yesterday and missed some big ones today. We were able to weave our way through. I can’t thank Aric Almirola enough for helping me out there at the end.”

Newman took the lead from Blaney on the final lap. Heading into the front straightaway, Blaney was able to dive under Newman’s car and side draft him to grab the win. The Roush Fenway Racing driver was a blink of an eye away from capturing his first win since 2017.

“We just came up that little bit short,” Newman said. “I don’t know what else to say. I could have pinched him some more. I probably could have taken the air. You can go back and bench-race that three weeks from now. It was good racing to the end.”

The biggest takeaway from this race was the playoff implications most drivers faced. All 12 drivers had an in-race incident at some point in the race and some left Talladega facing a must-win scenario at Kansas Speedway next weekend.

The biggest losers after the 1000Bulbs.com 500 were the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets. Although it seemed like the Chevy’s were going to have a plan after the end of Stage 1 when they had an unscheduled meeting with the manufacturer, all of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers had some sort of an issue.

Chase Elliott was able to overcome a multi-car accident at the end of Stage 2 and finish the eight. He was the highest placing playoff Chevy to finish but still sees himself beneath the cutline heading into Kansas.

Bowman attempted a block on Joey Logano and caused one of the “Big Ones” that included playoff drivers Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski.

“I threw a block that I shouldn’t have blocked,” Bowman said. “I knew the 22 was coming and just tried to move down just a little bit. As soon as he touched me it just turned us sideways and it went from there. He had a bigger run than I realized.”

Logano would be involved in another incident later on in the race but was able to bring his No. 22 Ford Mustang home in the 11th position. The Connecticut native is only 18 points above the cutoff line.

Clint Bowyer sits at the bottom of the table after blowing a tire and getting stuck in the apron. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver now faces a must-win situation heading into his home track of Kansas.

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 20 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race begins at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Here are the standings going into Dover: