Recap of Last Year’s Geico 500

Dale Earnhardt Junior got some timely blocks from teammate Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps and drove on to his first victory of the season. Johnson – who finished second – first turned back a late charge from Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin, and then kept Paul Menard in his rear-view mirror as Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt took the checkered flag. It was “Junior’s” sixth win at Talladega but first since 2004. He finished fifteen one-hundredths of a second in front of Johnson with Menard, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Junior completing the top five. Earnhardt led six times for a race-high sixty-seven laps including the final twenty-seven trips around the mammoth Alabama oval. Pole sitter Jeff Gordon led forty-seven laps, but a pit-road speeding penalty during the second half of the race forced him off the pace and he finished thirty-first … Trevor Bayne’s spin on Lap-47 triggered Talladega’s “big one,” a fifteen-car wreck along the backstretch. Kyle Larson, David Ragan, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were among the drivers who got swept up in the accident. The red flag was displayed for more than eleven minutes while the safety crew cleaned up the track. When the race resumed, Harvick rallied to finish eighth.


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