The 1000Bulbs.com 500 took place at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, Oct. 14 and featured one of the wildest finishes of the season as Aric Almirola secured his berth in the round of eight with a last lap victory in NACAR overtime.
After an accident involving Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet on lap 185 brought out the eighth caution of the race, it appeared that Kyle Busch was going to maintain his lead and win the 1000Bulbs.com 500, but when the white flag finally came out on lap 192 it was almost immediately a different race.
Knowing it was the last lap and thus the last chance to secure points in the chase for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, the pack surged forward into the first turn where there was contact between Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott that took all three vehicles out of the race and threatened yet another caution flag.
As the drivers continued into turn two NASCAR officials made it clear that they considered the track to be safe and there would be no caution flag. The drivers continued around the track and it appeared that the Stewart-Hass quartet would capture the top four spots as they had done at each stage of the day.
Coming out of turn four it was obvious that Busch’s car had run out of gas as it slowed to crawl while he angled towards the bottom of the track. Almirola roared into the lead, for his first and only lead of the day, to secure his second career victory and a coveted spot in the Round of 8.
Almirola joins Elliott, who finished 31st on the day after the last lap collision, as the only playoff driver to have secured a spot in the next round as the series moves to Kansas Speedway next week for the Hollywood Casino 400.