Rankings are updated every Monday of the NASCAR season.
Kevin Harvick looked strong early, but his Chevy suffered damage in a crash on lap 47. Later he was hit with a pit road speeding penalty and was forced to restart 31st. Despite the damage, which the crew repaired, and his penalty, Harvick raced back to the front. He was as high as second at one point and in the end came home with a nice eighth place finish.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Martin Truex was back in the pack for much of the race. He avoided the “big one” on lap 47 and found himself in the top 10 toward the end. A last lap charge put him in fifth his ninth top 10 finish in the last 10 races.
Jimmie Johnson led 50 laps Sunday. He looked to be in great contention for the win, but in the final quarter of the race, no one had anything for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson had to settle for second.
Joey Logano started 21st, but was swept up in the multi-car crash on lap 47. He would return, but was five laps down. He made up three of those laps, but in the end finished 33rd.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was driver of old Sunday. He led a race high 67 laps en route to his 26th career win, his sixth at Talladega, and his first since 2004. He is now tied for the most wins at Talladega among active drivers.
Brad Keselowski avoided trouble but was never able to stay among the lead group. He made a brief appearance inside the top 10, but ended the day 22nd.
Jamie McMurray had an impressive run hanging inside the top five much of the day. He fell back late in the going, however, and had to settle for 11th.
Matt Kenseth started eighth, but couldn’t stay inside the top 10. He hovered outside the top 10 most of the day, faded on the last lap and came home 25th.
Kasey Kahne started out strong, but suffered heavy damage on the lap 47 crash. He would make repairs and return but finished 34th, 30 laps down.
Denny Hamlin won this race last year and looked like he had a shot to win again late in the going. He made one last charge on the final laps, but fell short and finished ninth.
Paul Menard avoided trouble the entire race. In the final laps, he rallied toward the front and was rewarded with a third place finish for his efforts.
Aric Almirola started 28th and suffered some damage in the lap 47 crash. He held on, however, for a 15th place finish.
Jeff Gordon led from the pole and led a total of 47 laps. But a late race penalty sent him deep in the field and the best he could do was rally back to 31st.
Ryan Newman was never a factor for the win, but did manage to avoid trouble and come home seventh.
Kurt Busch is bouncing back from a tow race suspension quite nicely. After winning at Richmond the week prior, Busch looked strong much of the race Sunday. He suffered some damage on the lap 47 crash, but was able to hold his own and finished 12th.
About The Ranker:
Greg Engle is an Examiner.com writer and an award-winning columnist who has worked full time for the Sporting News and the NASCAR Wire Service—if you wanted to get any more inside the sport of NASCAR you’d have to wear a crash helmet. He has received bylines in hundreds of newspapers across the country on auto sports and has also been featured on NASCAR.com, ThatsRacin.com, ESPN and Fox Sports. His work can be found at Examiner.com.