Aric Almirola wins Xfinity race at Talladega

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Aric Almirola held off Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano on the last lap to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway.

It is Almirola’s third career series win. 

This victory is special for Almirola. He’s given credit for winning at Milwaukee in 2007 because he started that race but he was pulled from the car when Denny Hamlin arrived from Sonoma and drove the car to the win. Last July, Almirola won at Daytona, nosing Justin Allgaier by inches when the caution waved in overtime.

Saturday, there were no questions or doubts about his victory.

“This one was ours fair and square,” Almirola said. “We led a lot of laps. We won the first stage, and we got up there in the end. There was no caution at the end. We crossed the start/finish line first and those are the most gratifying to win.”

Sadler, who finished second, lamented his actions at the end.

“I made a huge mistake coming to the white,” Sadler said. “Me and my spotter were so focused on (Logano). I kind of made a mistake where I was on the track.”

Logano finished third. Ben Kennedy placed fourth in his first series race of the year. Erik Jones was fifth.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points report 

STAGE 1 WINNER: Aric Almirola

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allagier

HOW ARIC ALMIROLA WON: He had a strong car throughout the day and put himself in the right spot to withstand challenges in the final four laps.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Points leader Elliott Sadler finished second after hitting the wall early in the race. … Ben Kennedy placed fourth in his first series start of the year. … Jeff Green finished 10th for just his second top-10 result in the last decade.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Brennan Poole lost his 12th starting spot for unapproved adjustments, ran into the back of a car early and then hit Daniel Suarez, triggering a nine-car crash to bring out the red on Lap 21. He finished 24th. … Daniel Hemric, coming off a career-best third last week at Richmond, was collected in a nine-car crash and finished 38th. … Ryan Reed, who won at Daytona, finished 29th after a wreck triggered by a bump from Aric Almirola.

NOTABLE: Biagi-Denbeste scored its third career Xfinity win. All have come at restrictor-plate tracks.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Aric got careless there and he took the blame for it, but I think it being Saturday and him not racing here that often, he was a little more careless. I don’t think if it was Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. or somebody he races with every week in front of him that he would have done that,’’ Ryan Reed said of Aric Almirola after a bump from Almirola caused Reed to crash (Almirola apologized for the incident).

NEXT: The Xfinity Series is off until May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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