Aric Almirola wins Xfinity Series race at Talladega

Danica Patrick Ready for a Wild One at Talladega

Danica Patrick Ready for a Wild One at Talladega

"I thought I was right where I wanted to be on the last restart", Almirola said.

HOW ARIC ALMIROLA WON: He had a strong auto throughout the day and put himself in the right spot to withstand challenges in the final four laps.

Blaney is 12th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings after nine races.

Fifth-place finisher Erik Jones goes into Sunday's GEICO 500 as a rookie.

"I feel bad about the 16-I got into the back of the 16 and tore up a lot of cars", Almirola said ruefully.

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Clint Bowyer led the way in the brief practice with a speed of 196.822 miles per hour, followed by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano. Logano has won two of the last three races at Talladega and is quickly becoming known for his dominance in restrictor-plate races.

"(Today's) really the first time I've gotten to get out front and really try to command the pack. But I learned a lot. That is the biggest reason why this race can be so hard to predict. Drivers will spend the entire race attempting to make a run to the front of the pack but all it takes is an unanticipated bump or rub to completely knock a portion of the field right out of the race.

Saturday's schedule includes that postponed race and also the XFINITY Series' Sparks Energy 300 and qualifying rounds for the GEICO 500. Here's all the info you'll need to watch the Sparks Energy 300 live. Because what happens behind you affects how your vehicle runs and the draft you get, the surges you get and when you can time it to use that to your advantage.

"I was adamant about that, but I thought we had some pretty good runs toward the end and I thought we were going to have a shot at it, but just getting side-drafted and stuff, we got stalled out". "So, you focus on that, and that is so different than anything else we do".

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