TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on NASCAR's playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (all times local):
Ryan Blaney beat Ryan Newman in a photo finish Monday at Talladega Superspeedway to earn a spot in the third round of NASCAR's playoffs.
Blaney's first win of the season advanced him to the round of eight along with Kyle Larson. The field will be trimmed from 12 to eight next weekend at Kansas, and Blaney came to Talladega needing a big rally to remain in title contention.
Blaney was the leader on a restart with two laps remaining and had a strong push from fellow Ford drivers until Newman charged to the lead in the top line. Blaney stayed in the bottom lane. As an accident broke out further in the pack, he pulled alongside Newman and beat him by inches to the finish line.
It was the sixth-closest finish in the history of Talladega, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this weekend.
The race began Sunday but was stopped after the first stage for rain and resumed Monday.
NASCAR championship contender Alex Bowman triggered a multi-car accident when he tried to block Joey Logano in the closing laps of the second stage at Talladega Superspeedway.
Logano was charging hard for the lead and Bowman tried to block him, but was instead turned and triggered the first accident of the race. Among those collected in the action were title contenders Chase Elliott, winner of the Talladega race in April, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin had already had a rough stage: A flap blew off the hood of his car, causing him concerns for the remainder of the race.
Only Larson is locked into the next round of the playoffs after his victory last week at Dover.
Clint Bowyer went on to win the stage under caution. The race was pushed back to Monday by rain on Sunday.
NASCAR's playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway has resumed after rain pushed it back a day to Monday.
William Byron was the leader at the end of Sunday's first stage, completed moments before heavy rain arrived. NASCAR plans to run the race to its completion Monday with the final two stages.
Title contender Brad Keselowski had an immediate issue when his car would not start as NASCAR sent them back to the track. A truck tried to push Keselowski's car to get it to fire, but it required an extended trip that warranted a penalty, sending Keselowski to the rear of the field on the restart.
Ryan Newman immediately pitted as cars headed back on the track. Matt Crafton was driving Paul Menard's car when the race resumed. Menard has a sore neck.
Chevrolet aggravated fans by holding a meeting for its teams during Sunday's rain stoppage to discuss strategy and how the manufacturer wanted its drivers to race. Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet have mandated brand alliance at Talladega and Daytona, where drivers work together in the draft to navigate through traffic.
Byron was pushed to the opening stage victory by a train of Chevy drivers, and the bottom lane of Ford cars couldn't get enough traction to catch Byron.
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