Aric Almirola won for the second time in his career and first time in the No.10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion to automatically advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Almirola’s win continued Ford’s winning streak at Talladega, recording their seventh in a row at the SuperSpeedway. It was also SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying MENCS win and its first victory at Talladega.
“I’m so happy for Aric, Tony and SHR,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “They executed their plan perfectly today. I’m just so proud of all the hard work at Ford Performance, all the things that Mark Rushbrook is doing leading our group, and everybody at Roush Yates Engines and the dedication they put into the plate racing here at Talladega and when we go to Daytona. It takes a total team effort and I’m just proud to be part of the team. It’s an incredible day here at Talladega. My dad loved racing here.
We raced here together a lot and it kind of started back when we had Davey Allison as our driver in the 28 car. It was interesting, I asked Aric yesterday I said, ‘Maybe we should put a 28 on the side of this car.’ I thought he was gonna win the race and I asked him if he’d mind to carry that 28 to Victory Lane today and to be here with him is amazing. I’m trying to carry on what my dad, Robert Yates started, and our family tradition of plate racing and just really proud to have my daughter Olivia here with me today and carrying on the family tradition. What a way to win our company’s 350th overall win.”
The power of the Ford Performance, Roush Yates Engines powered Ford Fusions made a statement in Talladega, after qualifying 1-2-3-4 and leading 184 total laps (489 miles) out of a 193-lap overtime race on Sunday.
“We came and brought four amazing racecars,” Almirola commented in Victory Lane. "As an organization, we were so committed to each other about running up front, staying up front, scoring as many points as we can, and staying committed to the bottom lane, to each other. I feel like that strategy, honestly, was what obviously won us the race. I think our cars were so fast that as long as we stayed single file, all four of us lined up, nobody could get that outside lane working to go up there and challenge us.”
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates hooked up and showed great disciple to lead the field for all but 2 laps during the first two stages of the race. Pole and Stage 1 winner, Kurt Busch lead the field for 108 laps while teammate Kevin Harvick led 46 laps on his way to winning Stage 2.
“I want to thank everybody from the engine department at Roush Yates for all the work and effort that they put into everything that goes on the race track,” said Harvick. “This is all about cars and people and engines and everything that goes and when you can have a group of guys that work together like we did today, you can control the situation in the race a lot more than just battling it out amongst each other. I’m really, really happy for Aric. He works his butt off. Those guys have done a great job all year and to see them get to Victory Lane is a lot of fun.”
A late race caution caused the race to go into overtime, the additional laps caused fuel challenges for Harvick, Blaney and Busch as they ran out of fuel during the last laps of the race, shuffling the field on the final two laps of the race.
It was a 1, 2, 3, & 5 finish for Ford; SHR teammates Almirola and Clint Bowyer finished 1-2 while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from Roush Fenway Racing drove up through the field to finish third. Team Penske’s Joey Logano finished fifth and Wood Brother’s Racing, Paul Menard finished ninth.
Kansas will be the next cutoff race for MENCS. The Ford drivers are currently in P1 Almirola, P3 Harvick, P5 Logano, P6 Kurt Busch, P7 Bowyer, P9 Brad Keselowski and P10 Ryan Blaney.