NASCAR Playoffs at Talladega results: Aric Almirola steals win after Kurt Busch runs out of gas


"I can't believe it!" Aric Almirola screamed at the finish of Sunday's 500 at Talladega. "We finally did it!"

Yes, Almirola finally did. After coming close so many times this season, Almirola rolled to his first win of 2018, having just enough gas to pass Kurt Busch -- who ran out of fuel after leading 108 laps -- on the last lap of Sunday's race to guarantee his spot in NASCAR's Round of 8. 

"I just came to the track with mindset that we were going to race and give 'em hell," Almirola said on the NBC broadcast after the win. "If we win, we win. If we wreck, we wreck. And we won!"

Almirola led 64 laps at Dover last seek before wrecking out. His win Sunday wrapped a Stewart-Haas Racing rout at Talladega Superspeedway by taking his first win of the season, earning him an automatic berth into the third round of the playoffs.

He was part of a four-car Ford tandem that dominated from start to finish. Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Almirola had pulled away from the field and were in control until a caution sent the race into overtime. Harvick had to pit for gas and Busch ran out of gas while leading on the final lap, giving Almirola the window to slip past for the win. 

Bowyer finished second, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.   

The win couldn't have come at a better time for Almirola, who nearly took the checkered flag at the season-opening Daytona 500 but was wrecked while leading on the final lap. His second career win snapped a 149-race winless streak. 

Next up in NASCAR's Round of 12 is Kansas Speedway, where Almirola and Chase Elliott -- last weekend's winner at Dover -- are the only two drivers locked into the Round 8. 

Final Results

1. Aric Almirola (10)
2. Clint Bowyer (14)
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17)
4. Denny Hamlin (11)
5. Joey Logano (22)
6. AJ Allmendinger (47)
7. Jimmie Johnson (48)
8. Erik Jones (20)
9. Paul Menard (21)
10. Regan Smith (95)
11. Kyle Larson (42) 
12. Brendan Gaughan (62) 
13. Trevor Bayne (6) 
14. Kurt Busch (41) 
15. Ty Dillon (13) 
16. Daniel Suarez (19) 
17. Austin Dillon (3)
18. Joey Gase (00)
19. Bubba Wallace (43)
20. William Byron (24)
21. Chris Buescher (37)
22. Landon Cassill (99)
23. Martin Truex Jr. (78)
24. Ross Chastain (15)
25. Ryan Newman (31)
26. Kyle Busch (18)
27. Brad Keselowski (2)
28. Kevin Harvick (4)
29. Ryan Blaney (12)
30. Matt Dibenedetto (32)
31. Chase Elliott (19)
32. Corey LaJoie (72)
33. Alex Bowman (88)
34. D.J. Kennington (7)
35. Jamie McMurray (1)
36. JJ Yeley (23)
37. Jeffrey Earnhardt (96)
38. Cody Ware (51)
39. David Ragan (38)
40. Michael McDowell (34)

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