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Wallace scores personal win

June 25, 2020 - 06:00
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  • Wallace scores personal win
    NASCAR drivers Kyle Busch, left, and Corey LaJoie, right, join other drivers and crews as they push the car of Bubba Wallace to the front of the field prior to the start of Monday’s race at Talladega. [AP/JOHN BAZEMORE]

There’s a lot to talk about, so pull it out of neutral and go.

FIRST GEAR: The race at Talladega Superspeedway turned into a very long, emotional weekend for Bubba Wallace, who was racing in his home state of Alabama.

After the NASCAR Cup Series race was postponed Sunday, somebody on Wallace’s team found a noose in the garage area near his No. 43 Chevy.

NASCAR competitors, who rarely agree on anything, showed their unity by pushing Wallace’s car to the front of the starting grid on pit road.

Wallace was hoping to win and even led a lap late in the race, but had to come to pit road for fuel and finished 14th.

“I know I should have won that damn race,” Wallace said. “We ran out of gas. It’s just the stars didn’t align for us complete, but all in all, we won today. The prerace deal was probably one of the hardest (emotional) things I’ve ever had to witness in my life.”

SECOND GEAR: The last lap of the Talladega race was insane (as expected). After the white flag was displayed, there were two multi-car crashes, including some pushing and bumping at the finish line.

Aric Almirola, who was in the thick of the battle, earned a third-place finish, even though his No. 10 Ford was going backwards on the apron of the track. “When I crossed through the

“When I crossed through the tri-oval, I thought we were going to win the race, I was going so much faster than they were,” he said. “I just barely got clipped by I think the No. 47 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and spun across the finish line, ended up third. I’m happy to finish top-5 another week in a row.”

THIRD GEAR: You blinked, took your eye off the ball and missed the fact that Talladega represented the halfway point of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season.

Eight drivers, who have scored wins this season, have qualified for the Cup playoffs. That leaves only eight more playoff positions are up for grabs.

If the playoff field was set today, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Newman would be watching from the sidelines and defending Cup Series champion Kyle Busch would get in on points.

FOURTH GEAR: Pocono Raceway is packing a season’s worth of stock-car racing into a single weekend. This change was not part of NASCAR’s coronavirus schedule makeover. This decision was made last year.

Since the 1980s, poor ol’ Pocono had the dubious honor of being the NASCAR track with the closest Cup Series race dates. Since a majority of tracks host two Cup events, Pocono’s dates were just six or seven weeks apart.

Last year, as way to free up two weekends for NBC’s Summer Olympic coverage, Pocono agreed to a unique doubleheader weekend: A pair of Cup races on back-to-back days.