Saturday, May 6, 2017

Aric Almirola earns Xfinity win at Dega

Almirola at Atlanta
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs


by Courtney Horn

It was a relatively calm ending to a wild Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway that featured two red flags. Aric Almirola led 13 laps and earned his first Xfinity Series victory in his fourth start this season.

The field stayed under green and raced to the finish line after Bubba Wallace spun through the grass and smacked the wall in the final lap. It was a rough day for the driver of the No. 6 Global Life Ford who was also involved in a multi-car wreck on Lap 20, the first red flag of the afternoon.

The second red flag occurred just before the halfway point and collected eight drivers when Ryan Reed appeared to get loose from the air on Almirola’s car.

The second half of the race only saw one caution, for debris, before the checkers, but was packed with multiple lead changes and pit road troubles.

During green flag stops JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Kasey Kahne made contact while trying to reach their pit stalls. Kahne appeared to receive the most damage. He was later penalized and held one lap for pitting outside the pitbox. He finished 15th.

William Byron remains third in the points standings after being involved in a wreck. He attempted to continue but was called to the garage after failing to meet minimum speed.

Elliott Sadler continues to hold the points lead over Justin Allgaier. Allgaier won the second stage of the race and earned bonus points at the end of Stage 1. Almirola won Stage 2.

Last year’s winner Elliott Sadler quietly finished second and was the first of two Xfinity regulars to secure top-5 finishes. Ben Kennedy finished fourth in his return to the Xfinity Series. Kennedy’s last start was at Iowa in June of 2016.

The Xfinity Series returns to Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend after a two week break on May 27th.

Final Running Order:

1. Aric Almirola
2. Elliott Sadler
3. Joey Logano
4. Ben Kennedy
5. Erik Jones
6. Matt Tifft
7. Michael Annett
8. Justin Allgaier
9. Daniel Suarez
10.  Jeff Green
11.  J.J. Yeley
12.  Ryan Sieg
13.  Darrell Wallace Jr.
14. Ty Dillon
15.  Kasey Kahne
16.  Joey Gase
17.  Timmy Hill
18.  David Starr
19.  Ross Chastain
20.  Tyler Reddick
21.  Garrett Smithley
22.  Harrison Rhodes
23.  Dakoda Armstrong
24.  Brennan Poole
25.  Mike Harmon
26.  Cole Custer
27.  Jeremy Clements
28.  Mark Thompson
29.  Ryan Reed
30.  Brendan Gaughan
31.  Blake Koch
32.  Martin Roy
33.  Chris Cockrum
34.  Scott Lagasse, Jr.
35.  Morgan Shepherd
36.  William Byron
37.  Brandon Jones
38.  Daniel Hemric
39.  Spencer Gallagher
40.  Ray Black, Jr.

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