Playoff challenger Almirola collected in early wreck at Talladega

Leslie Ann Miller/Motorsport Images

Playoff challenger Almirola collected in early wreck at Talladega

NASCAR

Playoff challenger Almirola collected in early wreck at Talladega

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Aric Almirola will go to the Charlotte Roval last on the playoff grid after exiting Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway before the end of the first stage.

Almirola was leading the outside lane when he wound up turned into the outside wall on lap 59. Alex Bowman was running behind Almirola and was also collected in the accident, as were Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney.

The damage was too much for Almirola’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team to repair after looking things over on pit road. But before coming to his crew’s attention, Almirola, pitted a few stalls in front of Bowman, stopped next to Bowman on pit road as Bowman received repair work from his team.

“I’m okay,” said Almirola. “I honestly haven’t seen the replay, so it’s hard to say, but I got hit from behind and turned in the outside fence. It’s such a shame. We had such a fast Smithfield Power Bites Ford Mustang; I’m just disappointed.

“We were doing everything we needed to do. We were closing in on the end of Stage 1, and it looked like we were going to score a lot of points there, which is exactly what we needed to do. It looks like (Bowman) got to my outside, and my car started to turn to the right, so it’s unfortunate. I don’t know if he got in the back of me and hooked me or how that played out, but my car just made a hard right into the fence. It’s unfortunate.

“I had a lot of confidence going into today. I thought we were going to have a good shot to win. Our car was so fast, but unfortunately, the Good Lord had different plans for us today. We’ll go onto the Roval and try one more time.”

Almirola will earn one point from Talladega. He will be in a likely must-win situation at the Roval if he is going to advance into the Round of 8.

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