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Bowyer, Byron take stage wins in Talladega playoff race

Staff Report
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Bowyer, Byron take stage wins in Talladega playoff race

Clint Bowyer won Stage 2 of the NASCAR Playoffs race at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday, but almost as important was he avoided any serious problems when the ‘Big One’ broke out with two laps to go. Bowyer, who entered the race four points below the playoff cutline, was in need of the 10 stage points that came along with his first stage win of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Bowyer led a brigade of Fords at the front that also included Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski as teaming up and tandem drafting became the norm during a wild stage. At one point late in the stage, Bowyer’s No. 14 was pressed up against the back of Logano’s No. 22 as the two Fords pulled away from the pack. But the two could not hold the lead, and that’s when Alex Bowman got out front in the No. 88 Chevrolet and eventually set off the “Big One” with an apparent block of Logano, who bumped him.

RELATED: ‘Big One’ unfolds in closing laps of Stage 2 | Stage 2 results

Six playoff drivers were involved in the wreck with some like Chase Elliott desperate for a good result at Talladega and driven further into desperation mode and others like Kyle Larson not sweating the wreck because of a win last week at Dover.

Non-playoff drivers Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five in Stage 2, which began at 2 p.m. ET on Monday after Sunday’s race was postponed after Stage 1 because of rain.

Place Driver Team Pts
1 Clint Bowyer (P) Stewart-Haas Racing 10
2 Joey Logano (P) Team Penske 9
3 Brad Keselowski (P) Team Penske 8
4 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing 7
5 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing 6
6 Ryan Blaney (P) Team Penske 5
7 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing 4
8 William Byron (P) Hendrick Motorsports 3
9 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing 2
10 Kyle Busch (P) Joe Gibbs Racing 1

William Byron held off a hard-charging Joey Logano to win Stage 1 in the NASCAR Playoffs race at Talladega Superspeedway. It was the Byron’s second stage win of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Byron continued a theme of Hendrick Motorsports speed at the 2.66-mile track with teammate Alex Bowman coming in third after Logano in second. Non-playoff driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came in fourth, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

RELATED: Stage 1 results

The stage featured 12 different leaders, including Hendrick’s Chase Elliott, who started on the pole. There were 17 lead changes in the stage and just one caution for the No. 52 of Spencer Boyd slowing on the track.

Just before that caution, Ryan Blaney spun coming onto pit road and lost the lead. Erik Jones also had an anxious moment when he had a tire go down, but he was able to bring the No. 20 Toyota to pit road.

Place Driver Team Pts
1 William Byron (P) Hendrick Motorsports 10
2 Joey Logano (P) Team Penske 9
3 Alex Bowman (P) Hendrick Motorsports 8
4 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing 7
5 Brad Keselowski (P) Team Penske 6
6 Kyle Larson (P) Chip Ganassi Racing 5
7 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 4
8 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing 3
9 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing 2
10 Ryan Blaney (P) Team Penske 1