Brad Keselowski won Stage 1 of the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in a one-lap sprint following a late caution.
Keselowski edged out his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano to lead his only lap in the stage. The shootout was caused by a caution when Paul Menard hit the wall with five laps left in the stage.
The top 10 through 55 laps is Keselowski, Logano, Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Michael McDowell, Kurt Busch, Trevor Bayne and Kasey Kahne.
Logano led 37 laps.
There were two cautions for accidents in the stage.
The first caution came out on Lap 26 as a number of Chevrolet cars attempted to pit in a group. Jamie McMurray, a playoff driver, was slowing down to move to the apron when he was hit from behind by Erik Jones. The impact sent McMurray shooting to the outside wall where he collided with Jeffrey Earnhardt.
The impact with Earnhardt caused McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet to become briefly airborne. McMurray, Earnhardt and Jones were eliminated. Kyle Busch was also involved. McMurray will finish in 37th.
“We wanted to pit a couple of laps earlier, and you’re somewhat dependent on the spotters to tell you when you’re going to pit,” McMurray told NBC. “You assume everyone is working as a group. It was my fault. I assumed that they said the 18 was going to let me in, so I thought we were all going to pit. I didn’t even know where the 77 was. When I got on the brakes, I thought we were all coming to pit road as a group. I’ll take the blame for that. I just kind of assumed we were coming to pit road right there. Obviously not everyone was.”
Mark Thompson was also involved and eliminated from the race.
Six drivers, including pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon and Michael McDowell, were penalized for pitting too early.
Earnhardt, who led seven laps in the stage, was penalized again during the caution for Menard for speeding on pit road. He finished the stage in 27th.
The second incident was Menard hitting the wall with five laps left in the stage.
Stage 2 of the 188-lap race will end on Lap 110.