While Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley and Ross Chastain emerged victorious with the race win and the third Dash 4 Cash bonus on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, there were a multitude of competitors who avoided a series of late calamities and earned strong results at one of the world’s fastest superspeedway venues.
The first was Brett Moffitt. A former champion of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Moffitt made his ninth start of the season in the No. 02 Chevrolet Camaro for Our Motorsports. Starting 20th, the Grimes, Iowa, native found himself in the right place at the right time in the closing laps, running within the top 10 and in the lead pack. Following a series of carnages, which he was avoid to dodge, Moffitt restarted 10th with three laps remaining and was able to gain five more spots to finish fifth. The result was Moffitt’s first top-five career result in the Xfinity Series and his third top-10 result in his 12th series start. The fifth-place result was also the best for Our Motorsports in the team’s 11th race in the series this season, having achieved a sixth-place result at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.
Behind Moffitt, Anthony Alfredo backed up his his first top-five finish in the series last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway to notch another top-10 result in his first Xfinity performance at Talladega. Starting 10th, Alfredo finished second in the first stage and 12th in the second while leading his first career laps at Talladega (five). Spending the majority of the race inside the top 10, dodging the late carnages and rallying from a late pit road speeding penalty, Alfredo restarted fifth with three laps remaining and with a final opportunity to pull off his first win in an upset fashion. Ultimately, he was able to cross the line in sixth for his fourth top-10 result of the season. Through six races he has competed in thus far, he has finished no worse than 14th.
Next was Gray Gaulding, who emerged with a top-10 result in his first Xfinity Series start of the season. A year after notching a career-best runner-up result at Talladega as a full-time competitor for SS-Green Light Racing, Gaulding started this season without a full-time ride. After competing in four Cup races this season with Rick Ware Racing, Gaulding made his first Xfinity start of the season at Talladega while returning to SS-Green Light Racing. Starting 21st, Gaulding was ninth with three laps remaining and was able to gain one more spot to finish eighth. The result was Gaulding’s fifth Xfinity top-10 career result in his 42nd series start and SS-Green Light Racing’s second top-10 result of this season after finishing eighth at Daytona International Speedway in February with Ray Black Jr.
In addition, Alex Labbe, who started 27th, managed to escaped the late carnage to restart in sixth with three laps remaining and cross the finish line inside the top-10 (ninth). The top-10 result was Labbe’s fourth of his Xfinity career and second of this season after finishing 10th in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway in February while also leading 19 laps. The result came with a little victory for the Saint-Albert, Quebec, native, who will receive his first opportunity to compete for the $100,000 bonus from the Dash 4 Cash program next weekend at Pocono Raceway alongside Haley, Chastain and Austin Cindric.
Finishing just outside the top 10 were Brandon Brown and rookie Jesse Little. Brown, who was running inside the top 10 in the late stages of the race, finished 11th for his ninth top-15 finish of the season while Little, a newcomer to the series, earned his fourth top-15 result this season and emerged as the highest-running rookie candidate in the race. In addition, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Tommy Joe Martins managed to finish inside the top 15 while dodging a multi-car pileup on the frontstretch feet away from the finish line. Earnhardt, who finished 14th, claimed his second top-15 result of the season while Martins claimed his first top-15 finish since finishing 11th at Iowa Speedway in June 2017.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will return at Pocono Raceway on June 28 as part of a quadruple-header weekend and on the same day as the second NASCAR Cup Series race of the weekend at the Tricky Triangle. The race will air at 12:30 p.m. ET on FS1.