Written by Adrian Beecher
Talladega, AL – Aric Almirola broke a 149 – race winless streak, dating back to 2014, with a win in the 2018 1000Bulbs 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, after surviving the carnage and crossing the line first in NASCAR Overtime.
“Today, the Good Lord was shining on us and we went to Victory Lane. We did it, finally!” said Almirola in victory lane after the race.
Almirola’s win comes just a week removed after a late wreck in Dover by teammate Clint Bowyer took away Almirola’s chances to win. This week, however, it was all about teamwork for the four Stewart-Hass teammates.
Kurt Busch would start on the pole, with the other three teammates, Kevin Harvick, Bowyer and Almirola starting 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Busch would stay there most of the day, leading 108 laps in the race and winning the first stage.
“I really enjoyed leading the race, working with my teammates. I’m really happy a Stewart-Haas car won, but the four of us, I ‘ve never seen so much synergy,” said Busch post race.
The teamwork allowed the Stewart-Haas cars to secure both stages wins, with Harvick winning the other and all four finishing top four in both stages. The four Fords were able to pull away from the rest of the field for much of the day, which is mostly unheard of at restrictor plate tracks like Dega.
This domination limited the carnage that is so commonly referenced with Talladega. There were 8 cautions, with two of those being for the end of the stages. Things didn’t get really dicy until near the end of the race when a caution with only 3 laps to go would resent the field and wipe away a commanding lead that the four Stewart-Haas cars held most of the day. At one point, those four were 8-seconds ahead of 5th through 8th and 16 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
On the final restart in overtime, Kevin Harvick would run out of fuel and come down pit road as the field went green, taking him out of contention. Then on the final lap, Clint Bowyer was leading and checked up to let Kurt in line, however, then Kurt ran out of gas. this slightly slowed Boyer and Almirola took over the lead.
Almirola would hold onto the lead and score the victory to cement his spot in the NASCAR Playoffs round of 8, along with Chase Elliott. With only one race left in the round, being Kansas Motor Speedway in the Hollywood Casino 400, things are going to heat up out in the mid-west in the series next weekend.