Paul Menard wins GEICO 500 Stage 2 at Talladega

McMurray escapes huge Talladega practice crash

Joey Logano's win Sunday at Talladega was his first win this season, but it's also his first win as a dad.

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, David Ragan, Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have one win here each.

NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray escaped serious injury in a brutal crash during practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.

A series of regulation changes meant that Saturday's cars were much different than in weeks previous. "I needed a run from behind", Busch said, per Mike Hembree of USA Today. Handling will be at an all-time premium. "Those two are definitely by far the fastest cars out there right now". I think there is a luck factor to Talladega that will always be there, and there is a skill factor that seems to always be a moving target with different tactics and techniques based on the rules, regulations and competitors. Busch is the current leader in the points standings and has 17 playoff points.

Once the 188-mile race was underway on the 2.66-mile tri-oval, Alex Bowman - driving the No. 88 Chevrolet in his first year of replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. - emerged as the first strong front-runner, leading 26 laps of the 55 laps making up Stage 1. Busch has won this race once before in 2008. "I was trying to move forward, and make a lane, and push, and they were not interested in advancing".

Harvick is 13 years removed from his only previous pole at Talladega, where he won in 2010. We don't have to worry about that whole playoff thing anymore. "Now you know it". Austin scored two top 10s here in 2016, and he is the victor of the most recent plate race (the Daytona 500; the only other time I've used him). Since 2014, Roush Fenway Racing has won only at tracks where the plates are used.

He had one brief challenge from Kurt Busch, who pulled out of line in traffic and tried to catch Logano but could not get the lead.

"I look at it as a fairly open weekend with a lot of unpredictability, even for Talladega standards", Keselowski said. When asked if he anticipated such a strong showing in qualifying, Harvick replied: "We had no clue as to how fast our auto would run". Kurt Busch was penalized for speeding, which is significant at a track like Talladega since the speeds are so high.

"The cars are about 5-10 miles per hour faster than they've been here in the last two to three decades", Keselowski said before the change. I was just thankful. It was the highest finish in the iconic race for both a rookie and an African-American driver. None of those streaks included a win at Talladega. He's also led 177 laps here the last four races so expect a few extra bonus points to come your way. He also has had some struggles, finishing 30th and 27th in the past two fall races.

With the Penske cars out of contention, the closing laps belonged to resurgent Stewart-Haas Racing.

Daily fantasy NASCAR is a unique beast in that qualifying and practice times are going to play a major role in determining which drivers will be best positioned to succeed in a given week.

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