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Talladega: With playoff hopes in the balance, Almirola gets caught up in crash

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TALLADEGA — A wreck near the end of Stage 1 in today's YellaWood 500 might push Aric Almirola out of the Cup Series playoffs.

Almirola got caught up in the crash when Alex Bowman tries to work his way between the wall and Almirola. When Almirola tried to block, they dumped, which knocked Almirola sideways. Kyle Busch also got caught up in the action. All three are in the playoffs.

"It's unfortunate," Almirola said, after his team determined the car was too damaged to continue. "I had a lot of confidence going into today. I thought we had a shot to win. Our car was so fast."

This is the second of three races in the Round of 12, and Almirola entered the day in 11th place in the standings — 27 points behind the eighth-place driver, who happens to be Bowman. Only the top eight advance after next week's Bank of America ROVAL 400 in Charlotte.

Almirola typically has run well at Talladega, recording eight straight top-nine finishes. That includes a win in 2018 and third place in the June race.

The wreck ended his day, and as a result, he'll finish 36th or 37th place.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.