A wreck with seven laps remaining knocked out the top three cars in the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Daniel Suarez and Chase Elliott, who were fighting for the lead, tangled while racing for second. Both were eliminated, but they still finished in the top 20 because so many cars already had been collected in multicar pileups.
Also involved was leader Kyle Larson, whose No. 42 Chevrolet shot up the banking into the wall. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver managed to fix the damage and finish on the lead lap.
Kasey Kahne and Chris Buescher also were in the crash, which brought out the race’s third red flag (lasting 17 minutes, 14 seconds).
Jamie McMurray came into today’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in the final transfer spot for the upcoming Round of 8.
Unfortunately, McMurray will likely leave Talladega below the transfer line heading to the cutoff race next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
McMurray was involved in a five-car wreck on Lap 27. He was attempting to come to pit road when he was pushed from behind by Erik Jones, turned hard right into the wall and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt, Mark Thompson and Chris Buescher.
“It was my fault, I had assumed (Kyle Busch) was going to let me in, I didn’t even know where (Jones) was,” McMurray said. “We were all coming to pit road as a group and I’ll take the blame for that.
“There’s nothing you can do about it, right? It’s part of Talladega and we know you can come out of here with a lot of points and be a winner, or come out in the position we’re in now, go to Kansas and do our best.”
Added Erik Jones: “(Kyle Busch) started checking up in front of me and swerved, and (McMurray) was basically stopped on the track, it looked like he was trying to get from the top of the racetrack to the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we could really do. It’s just one of those things that happens here.”
With five in the top 10, Fords were still dominant in the second and final Cup practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, but it was Kasey Kahne and his Chevrolet that were the fastest in the session.
Kahne had a field-best speed of 191.222 mph, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. (191.069), Kurt Busch (190.257), Trevor Bayne (190.102) and Chase Elliott (189.729).
Sixth through 10th were Paul Menard (189.504), Brad Keselowski (188.645), Landon Cassill (188.630), Kevin Harvick (188.552) and Chris Buescher (188.534).
Only 23 cars took to the track because several had to serve penalties from last week’s race at Charlotte.
Click here for the final practice speed chart.
TALLADEGA, Alabama — Twenty-two Cup cars will miss practice time Friday at Talladega Superspeedway because of inspection issues.
Nineteen cars that are missing practice time are holdovers from last weekend at Charlotte when rain canceled two sessions .
Two cars will miss practice time in Friday’s opening practice. AJ Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr. both will miss 30 minutes Friday. Both also will miss 15 minutes of practice in the final session.
Missing 15 minutes in the final practice will be: Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, DJ Kennington, Chris Buescher, Jimmie Johnson and Michael McDowell.
Missing 30 minutes of final practice will be: Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Trevor Bayne, Chase Elliott, Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Opening practice today is from 1-1:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Final Cup practice today is from 3-3:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
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NASCAR makes its return trip to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend with the Cup and Camping World Truck Series.
The Xfinity Series is off this week.
The Cup Series holds the Alabama 500, the second race of the Round of 12 in the playoffs. The Truck Series competes in the Fred’s 250, its first playoff elimination race.
Here are the entry lists for both races.
Cup – Alabama 500
Forty cars are entered.
J.J. Yeley will driver the No. 7 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Brendan Gaughan is entered in the No. 75 Chevrolet for Beard Motorsports.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the last race at Talladega in May after a last-lap pass of Kyle Busch. He beat Jamie McMurray and Busch to the finish.
This race was won last year by Joey Logano after he led 45 laps. He beat Brian Scott and Denny Hamlin.
Click here for the entry list.
Trucks – Fred’s 250
There are 32 trucks entered. No full-time Cup drivers are entered.
This race was won last year by Alabama native Grant Enfinger, who led 45 of that race’s 94 laps.
He beat Spencer Gallagher, Timothy Peters and Rico Abreu.
Click here for the entry list.