With four different crashes in the final seven laps, Chase Elliott emerged victorious in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series.
“Obviously it could have gone both ways but fortunately everybody stayed together and stayed the course and had some help on that last lap with the caution,” Elliott said. “I just appreciate all the support. This is unbelievable. This is special. This is close to home for me. It feels a little bit like a home race.
“We’ll take it. Unbelievable feeling. The crowd was intense. We’re proud to get it done for them.”
Elliott is the first driver for the 2019 season to break the win streak by Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. He edged his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman, who was disappointed to not have a chance at the win coming to the line despite scoring his career-best finish.
“I’m not just going to let him win, right?” Bowman asked rhetorically. “I’ve got to try. I knew I could get to his quarter panel. I was pretty confident I could get to his quarter panel through the tri-oval. Who knows who is going to get to the line first? At that point, I thought I could do it. Depends on the car behind you, where he goes.
“It would have been fun to try, but happy for Chase, Nationwide (Bowman’s sponsor), everybody that lets us keep doing this thing. I’m glad to kind of turn the season around. It’s been a rough start to the year. These guys deserve way better than the finishes they’ve had. To come home second, it’s not a win, but headed in the right direction.”
Ryan Preece also scored his best career Cup series finish with a third place run. Upon further video evidence, Joey Logano unofficially finishes in fourth just slightly ahead of Daniel Hemric, who also got his best career finish. The rest of the top 10 finishing positions were Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Brendan Gaughan, Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch. Busch now extends his top-10 finishing streak to 10 for the 2019 season.
Three Multi-Car Wrecks at Talladega
The race officially ended under caution on the final lap as William Byron tangled with David Ragan on the back stretch. The two drivers collected Kyle Larson and Jeffrey Earnhardt. Both Larson and Earnhardt spun toward the inside wall, with Larson beginning to flip moments before impact with the inside SAFER barrier. The No. 42 Chevrolet tumbled and began to flip multiple times before finally coming to rest on the wheels. However, with Stenhouse spinning on the front stretch as the field took the white flag, the combination of debris on the track a few hundred feet before the start-finish line and Larson’s flip on the back stretch, NASCAR had to throw the yellow. Erik Jones spun in Turns 3 and 4 with two laps to go, but was able to continue on right away.
“That was probably the longest flip I’ve ever had,” Larson said after he was checked out of the infield care center. “I didn’t know if it would ever stop. It was a little bit scary, but thankfully I’m all right.”
A separate incident occurred with just seven laps remaining, as Chris Buescher’s No. 37 Chevrolet got turned by Aric Almirola on the backstretch. For the majority of that previous lap, Almirola kept looking to the inside to make a three-wide pass, but tucked back in line. However, on the back stretch, Almirola made contact with Buescher as he fell back in line and started a five-car crash. Buescher’s car hit the outside wall, then was t-boned by Matt DiBenedetto’s No. 95 Toyota, lifting Buescher’s car in the air. Martin Truex Jr. made slight contact, but avoided most of the wreck and was able to continue in the race. Justin Haley, who was making his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut, was not so fortunate and had his great debut end after hitting DiBenedetto in the side.
“We just got turned,” Buescher told FOX. ”Good position there with just a handful of laps to go. Just got turned right, destroyed our race car.”
The red flag lasted for 8 minutes and 47 seconds.
Back in the first stage, another multi-car wreck took out a few other major contenders as well. Just 10 laps into the race, Bubba Wallace had a strong run on Ryan Blaney. While the two bump drafted around, Blaney’s car got sideways but he was able to correct it. Wallace was not, and spun toward the inside across traffic. Clint Bowyer’s car slid up and collected his Stewart-Haas teammate Kevin Harvick. Michael McDowell and Matt Tifft were also collected, and those four retired from the race immediately.
“The No. 22 (Joey Logano) pulled up and he checked up a little bit,” Wallace said of the crash. “I went to go to the bottom, where I was safe. I don’t know if I crossed (Blaney’s) bumper or whatever. But it got him wiggled down and shoved me even farther down than I wanted to go.
“So I went back up just to stay off the apron and it just unloaded. It’s just unfortunate, but I tried not to wreck my buddy, Ryan, and it cost our day and some others’.”
Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota also received damage, and went a few laps down early. After hitting the wall on Lap 83, Hamlin took his car to the garage with mechanical failures and would not return to the race. Jimmie Johnson received damage after running over debris from McDowell’s car. On Lap 25, Johnson hit the wall in Turn 3. He was able to get his Chevrolet to pit road, but was out of contention after finishing nine laps down.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competes next at Dover International Speedway on May 5.
Monster Energy Cup Series Race Number 10
Race Results for the 50th Annual GEICO 500 – Sunday, April 28, 2019
Talladega Superspeedway – Talladega, AL – 2.66 – Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 188 Laps – 500.08 Miles
|1||11||9||Chase Elliott||Mountain Dew/Little Caesar’s Chevrolet||188||4||1||57||Running|
|2||9||88||Alex Bowman||Nationwide Chevrolet||188||2||2||53||Running|
|3||30||47||Ryan Preece #||Kroger Chevrolet||188||0||0||34||Running|
|4||8||22||Joey Logano||MoneyLion Ford||188||0||9||35||Running|
|5||5||8||Daniel Hemric #||Caterpillar Chevrolet||188||0||8||35||Running|
|6||14||1||Kurt Busch||Monster Energy Chevrolet||188||0||6||36||Running|
|7||24||6||Ryan Newman||Acorns Ford||188||6||0||35||Running|
|8||29||62||* Brendan Gaughan(i)||BeardOilDstrbtng/SthPntHtl&Casino Chevrolet||188||0||0||0||Running|
|9||2||10||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Ford||188||0||0||28||Running|
|10||22||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota||188||9||10||30||Running|
|11||36||32||Corey LaJoie||Schuler Systems Ford||188||0||0||26||Running|
|12||16||41||Daniel Suarez||Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla Ford||188||5||0||31||Running|
|13||4||2||Brad Keselowski||Snap On Ford||188||0||0||24||Running|
|14||1||3||Austin Dillon||Dow Chevrolet||188||3||5||37||Running|
|15||7||12||Ryan Blaney||Menards/Knauf Ford||188||0||4||29||Running|
|16||17||21||Paul Menard||Quick Land Tire & Auto Center Ford||188||0||0||21||Running|
|17||13||13||Ty Dillon||GEICO Chevrolet||188||1||0||30||Running|
|18||37||27||* Reed Sorenson||Low-T Centers Chevrolet||188||0||0||19||Running|
|19||27||20||Erik Jones||STANLEY Toyota||188||0||0||18||Running|
|20||20||19||Martin Truex Jr||Bass Pro Shops Toyota||188||0||0||17||Running|
|21||25||24||William Byron||Hertz Chevrolet||188||7||3||28||Running|
|22||33||81||* Jeffrey Earnhardt(i)||Xtreme Concepts Toyota||187||0||0||0||Accident|
|23||15||38||David Ragan||Shriners Hospital for Children Ford||187||0||0||14||Accident|
|24||10||42||Kyle Larson||Clover Chevrolet||187||0||7||17||Accident|
|25||6||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Fifth Third Bank Ford||187||8||0||15||Accident|
|27||35||96||* Parker Kligerman(i)||TRD 40th Anniversary Toyota||186||0||0||0||Running|
|28||40||51||Cody Ware(i)||JACOB Companies Ford||184||0||0||9||Running|
|29||3||14||Clint Bowyer||Toco Warranty Ford||182||0||0||8||Running|
|30||31||37||Chris Buescher||Tide Pods Chevrolet||181||0||0||7||Accident|
|31||26||95||Matt DiBenedetto||Procore Toyota||181||10||0||7||Accident|
|32||38||77||Justin Haley(i)||Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet||180||0||0||0||Accident|
|33||21||48||Jimmie Johnson||Ally Chevrolet||178||0||0||4||Running|
|34||32||0||Landon Cassill(i)||Home Town Lenders Chevrolet||154||0||0||0||Running|
|35||39||52||Stanton Barrett||HUSKI CHOCOLATE Chevrolet||132||0||0||2||Suspension|
|36||23||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Express Toyota||80||0||0||1||Accident|
|37||18||36||Matt Tifft #||Surface Suncreen/Tunity Ford||11||0||0||1||Accident|
|38||19||4||Kevin Harvick||Busch Beer Flannel Ford||11||0||0||1||Accident|
|39||28||43||Bubba Wallace||World Wide Technology Chevrolet||10||0||0||1||Accident|
|40||12||34||Michael McDowell||Love’s Travel Stops Ford||10||0||0||1||Accident|