LINCOLN, Ala. – Diehard NASCAR fans flocked to Talladega Superspeedway over the weekend for the first of two events at the biggest track on the schedule and the racing did not disappoint.
The weekend did start off on a sour note as mother nature brought unwanted rain to the area. Friday was a wash-out as most of the on track activities were cancelled. On Saturday, the skies cleared making for an exciting weekend of racing.
Aric Almirola holds on for Xfinity Series win
The NASCAR Xfinity Series started things off with the Sparks Energy 300. Aric Almirola held off defending race winner Eliott Sadler to claim the checkered flag with a .142 seconds margin of victory. Almirola, a Monster Energy Cup regular, scored his first win of the season and the third Xfinity Series win of his career. He led the field three times for 13 laps on his way to his first Talladega win. Rounding out the top five were Sadler, Logano, Kennedy and Jones. There were five cautions of twenty laps total.
Justin Haley capitalizes off of Brandon Lynn’s gamble on fuel to claim ARCA win
Sometimes stretching the fuel does not pay off. Brandon Lynn was on his was to victory lane in the General Tire 200 ARCA Series race on Saturday. His gamble with fuel left him with no chips. Lynn took the white flag and was well on his way to the win. But the No. 23 Chevrolet of Brett Holmes was turned into the outside wall bringing out a caution. Under the caution, Lynn’s fuel tank ran dry. On the restart, Justin Haley was able to get a great start and roll on to claim the win just ahead of Andy Seuss. His first win on just his first plate-track start. Rounding out the top five were Seuss, Davis, Theriault and Lee.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rockets forward to a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started the GEICO 500 Sunday from the pole after besting the crowd favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday during qualifying. On the drop of the green flag the race was extremely aggressive and action packed. The first two thirds of the race were relatively quiet and crash free. But as the laps continued, everyone was thinking: “When will the big one strike?” On lap 169, the “big one” struck with vengeance as A.J. Almendinger tapped the left rear of Chase Elliott causing Elliott to spin.
The ensuing carnage damaged eighteen cars, ending the day for many. After the 26 minute, 51 second red flag to clean the track, Kyle Busch took the green flag and powered out to the lead. On the final lap, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was able to get a great push from defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, vaulting him to first where he would stay to grab his first Monster Energy Cup Series win. Stenhouse led a total of 13 laps including the one that mattered most, the final lap. Rounding out the top five were McMurray, Ky Busch, Almirola and Kahne.
Packed grandstands at Talladega show a good sign
SylacaugaNews.com reached out to Russell Branham, Director of Public Relations for Talladega Superspeedway, about the crowd size on Monday. Branham said he was very pleased with the week of 192,000 fans.
Lately some signs of slowing, even drops in ticket sales were becoming the talk around the racing world. That was not the case this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway, told SylacaugaNews.com before the weekend ticket sales “exceeded their expectations,” even “breaking records for daily sales from previous years.”
Dustin Harmer for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.