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See where each driver finished the Contender Round finale and why RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske An adventurous day after a conflict-filled post-race the previous weekend at Charlotte seemed to be the recipe for potential heartbreak for Keselowski. But the 2012 champ defied odds and worked the draft to his advantage at Talladega Superspeedway to secure his sixth victory of the year and avoid elimination in the Contender Round finale in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. He did it with a damaged Team Penske No. 2 Ford, crumpled in the right-side door in the race's first wreck, and with aerodynamic savvy in changing lanes wildly on the way to the checkered flag. 2. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing The JGR driver who went after Keselowski in the post-race scrum at Charlotte found himself following his rival across the finish line in the final shuffle of the second attempt at a green-white-checkered conclusion. The runner-up effort, combined with lackluster results from his foes, was more than enough to push him to the Eliminator Round by a nine-point margin over the cut-off line. Proving that starting position means little, Kenseth and Keselowski had both dropped to the rear of the field during pre-race pace laps because of unapproved adjustments to their cars. Kenseth had the most dramatic closing kick, driving from 30th to second place with 19 laps to go. Get more driver data with RaceView. 3. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Bowyer, a two-time winner of Talladega's fall race, was the highest finisher who didn't lead a lap. That he notched a top-five performance was remarkable in that he caught part of a 10-car wreck on Lap 103 that destroyed the hopes of several drivers. The result also gave Bowyer a clean sweep of third-place finishes in both Talladega races this season. 4. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing Under the heading of doing a lot with a little, chalk up a career-best finish for Cassill and the scrappy No. 40 team. The Iowa native popped up to lead the 109th lap in the 194-lap race, powering around the outside of rookie Ryan Blaney at the start-finish line. By the time the event went into overtime, Cassill was in prime position, just .203 seconds behind Keselowski at the finish. View the pass for the lead here . 5. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Despite losing the draft early on when he stalled leaving his pit stall during the first exchange of stops, Newman rallied back from that gaffe and a midrace flat tire to challenge Keselowski for the victory in the final two-lap sprint to the finish. Though it was his first top-five in a span of 13 races, it was his fourth consecutive top-eight finish and that consistency over the last three races made him the highest points-earner without a win in the Contender Round. His car, however, failed post-race inspection for being too low in the rear and both sides, which could result in a penalty come Tuesday. 6. Travis Kvapil , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing The former Camping World Truck Series champion showed some speed earlier in the weekend, clocking the fastest lap in the second knockout segment of Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying. The largely trouble-free trend continued into Sunday's main event, where Kvapil made the most green-flag passes (669) and matched his career-best finish in the Sprint Cup Series, equaling the sixth-place run he had at Talladega in the spring of 2008. Get more driver data with RaceView . 7. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing The Outlaw spent quite a bit of time in the midst of the action Sunday at Talladega, missing out on sixth place by the narrowest of electronic margins -- one one-thousandth of a second behind Travis Kvapil . But electronic scoring did reflect a positive as well: the fastest lap of the race (202.006 on Lap 42). Overall, Sunday marked some improvement from Busch and the No. 41 team -- it was their first top-10 since the Chase opener in Chicagoland. 8. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports The Aussie's final restrictor-plate race as a Sprint Cup regular ended with the second-best Talladega finish of his career. He landed his only top-five at the 2.66-mile Alabama track in his 'Dega debut -- claiming fourth in the spring of 2009 with the JTG-Daugherty Racing team. Sunday's result also was his first top-10 effort since finishing second at Watkins Glen in August. 9. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Harvick didn't have to finish well at Talladega, based on the merits of his free pass into the Eliminator Round after a victory the previous weekend at Charlotte, but did anyway despite a pair of pitfalls. Early on, he battled on despite a windshield coated with fluid, forcing him to radio his crew: "I think I'm going to have to go to the back, guys. Can't see." He also recovered from a spin on pit road during the final exchange of stops to finish near the front of the pack. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 10. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing Restrictor-plate tracks remained the Mears Gang's strong suit this season as the No. 13 came home with its third top-10 of the year -- all at either Talladega or Daytona. Sunday also helped Mears regain the one spot he lost in the standings after a 31st-place result last weekend at Charlotte; he's now back to 25th. Follow live standings in-race here . 11. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Since Logano had immunity from Contender Round elimination after winning two weeks ago at Kansas, his primary purpose was to give Penske teammate Brad Keselowski aerodynamic assistance on Talladega's high banks. Logano's objective seemed to hit a snag with a wild slide through the grass during the first caution period, but he rallied to stay in contention. Though the No. 22 team radio crackled in the late stages to say "easier said than done" regarding offering help to Keselowski, the team car prevailed anyway to secure an 11th-hour slot in the Chase's next round. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Kahne's hopes of remaining alive in the Chase fizzled near the end, when his No. 5 Chevy was bogged down in a slow line of cars in the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Though he stormed back to the fringes of the top 10 in a frantic late push, he fell three points shy of advancing. "It was tough if you weren't in the top few spots," Kahne said. "Once we were up there early on, we could race." 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing The RCR rookie had largely kept his nose clean in the first half of the 516-miler, but once trouble emerged in front of him in the 103rd lap, he was unable to whoa up his No. 3 Chevy, slamming into the back of Kyle Busch 's No. 18. Though Busch's day was doomed, quick patchwork from the Childress bunch revived Dillon's car to competitive speed and a finish in the main fray. 14. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing If not for a favorable post-race inspection that threw out Joe Nemechek 's qualifying time and reinstated the No. 36 to the starting lineup, Sorenson would have been a spectator for Sunday's main event. The Georgia native made the most of the qualifying reprieve, posting his best finish since also coming home in 14th place at the Peachtree City native's home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway , in September 2010. 15. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing It was a day of firsts for the 23-year-old Californian, who kept clear of the Talladega turmoil to record his best finish in 46 career starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That wasn't the only Sunday milestone -- Whitt also headed the 133rd lap during the race's third yellow flag, marking his first lap led in NASCAR's top division. 16. Michael Waltrip , No. 66 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing The veteran owner/driver wasn't able to convert a Talladega two-step into a challenge for victory, but Sunday's run was the best finish out of the four races on his part-time 2014 schedule. Waltrip will return to his other jobs -- calling races as a Camping World Truck Series analyst for FOX Sports 1 and unleashing fancy footwork on a different TV audience on "Dancing With The Stars." 17. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing The charmed run of finishing sixth or better in five straight races ended Sunday for the talented Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate. A spinout on the apron while getting his No. 42 Chevy back up to speed after a Lap 175 pit stop hindered Larson's chances of continuing the streak, but he remained 17th in the Sprint Cup standings -- the highest-ranking driver outside the Chase-eligible field. 18. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Fate smiled on Hamlin in his most recent trip to Talladega with a regular-season win that paved his way into the Chase. Sunday, the smile wasn't so much of a smirk after a finish in the bottom half of the 32-car pack on the lead lap. Hamlin, though, did just enough, leading one lap and finishing with a 10-point cushion over Kasey Kahne , the first driver bounced from Eliminator Round advancement. The potential for better things looms for the No. 11 driver next weekend at Martinsville Speedway , where he's won four times in his Sprint Cup career. 19. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Helped by a push from Martin Truex Jr ., Patrick mounted a charge to the front on Lap 167, snatching the lead from Jimmie Johnson and bringing the Talladega faithful to their feet in the grandstands. Patrick showed the way for seven laps until a shuffle of pit stops and late-race restarts left her rooting and gouging for all the spots she could grab. Though the result wasn't what she wanted, she seemed thankful to be bringing the No. 10 car home in one piece, telling her crew on the cool-down lap: "Oh my gosh, I can't believe we didn't crash." Get more driver audio with RaceView . 20. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Sunday's race got off to a promising start for the No. 55 group, even on race-day eve with Coors Light Pole Qualifying. Vickers claimed his first pole since 2009, but he didn't lead after the drop of the green. Worse, he was snared in the race's biggest wreck -- the 10-car pileup in the 103rd lap that made his lead-lap finish all the more improbable. 21. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Edwards, Roush Fenway's last hope in the championship hunt, entered Sunday's Contender Round finale fifth in points and needing to avoid all the elimination-race mayhem. Though he came perilously close to the race's last multicar wreck, he steered clear to advance in the Chase by a scant nine points. "I just don't know how you plan this race out," Edwards said of Talladega's unpredictable nature. "We tried to outsmart everybody, and it almost caught us, so it's really down to pure chance. I'm just glad it worked out for us." 22. Ryan Blaney , No. 12 Ford, Team Penske The 20-year-old driver made waves in just his second Sprint Cup start, roaring to the point on Lap 2 and setting the pace twice for a total of 15 laps -- the first laps led in his career in NASCAR's top series. Blaney kept the No. 12, a part-time entry for Team Penske, out of trouble all day, improving on the 27th-place finish from his Cup debut back in May at Kansas Speedway . 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing The 'Dinger let loose with some grumbling over the restrictor-plate style of racing at Talladega, vocal salvos that only got louder after his involvement in the largest wreck of the race -- the 10-car stack-up on the backstretch during Lap 103. The result matched his worst finish in the six Chase races, equaling the 23rd place at Dover International Speedway , where his playoff hopes were snuffed in the opening Challenger Round finale. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 24. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports The six-time Sprint Cup champion did everything possible to keep his Chase hopes alive -- except win. Johnson asserted himself early and often, leading nine times for a race-high 84 laps. Despite being a fixture at the front, his split-second tactical decisions and lack of drafting help in the late stages left him out of the hunt for the checkers. His finishes of 40th, 17th and 24th in the three Contender Round events placed him 11th out of 12 drivers, dashing hopes for a record-tying seventh Sprint Cup crown. 25. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing The Biff's title chances ended three races ago in the Challenger Round finale at Dover, but he hasn't stopped trying to make strides. Sunday, he led the 46th lap but helped to trigger the final Talladega caution when he made contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr . at the end of the backstretch, snarling Junior and three other drivers in the mishap. 26. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports The four-time champ entered Sunday's Talladega race with a fairly safe spot after claiming a 14th-place and a runner-up finish in his first two Contender Round finishes, but by starting last for only the second time in his 757-race career, the perch became far more precarious. In the end, Gordon kept his drive for a fifth title intact by just three points over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne . "Today was not our shining moment," Gordon said. "But our performance the last two races are what really got us in, and I'm very proud of that." 27. Martin Truex Jr. , No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing Truex posted an achievement that reflected just how difficult 2014 has been -- his first lap led all season. With plenty of time spent among the front-runners Sunday, hopes were riding high for a competitive finish, but he was boxed in shortly after the final restart, taking damage to the left-rear quarter panel of his No. 78 in the jumble. "I don't know what to say except this is Talladega and you can go from hero to zero very quickly at this place," Truex said. "We had a good car and deserved much better." 28. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing The No. 98 team welcomed back the popular Dogecoin paint scheme back for another restrictor-place event and the reunion was met with modest success. Wise crossed under the checkered flag at the tail end of the large lead pack, registering only his third lead-lap finish of the year to go with his results at Talladega and Darlington in the spring. 29. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Gilliland, the runner-up to his teammate at Talladega in spring 2013, had no such luck this go-around as he was swept up into the final crash of the day on the first try at a green-white-checkered finish. He managed to limp around to a lead-lap result and his best finish in the last four races. 30. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Front Row's other David didn't have the Goliath-slaying ability this time around at Talladega, either. Though he cropped up into the lead on Lap 174, Ragan came across the line barely in touch with the lead pack. Unfortunately for him, the finish fit in with his average result for the four restrictor-plate races this season -- 30.25. 31. Dale Earnhardt Jr. , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Though Dale Jr. led the second-most laps (31) Sunday afternoon to stoke the high hopes of his nation, he was unable to dig out of the deficit of subpar finishes in the opening two Contender Round races. By the time the race's final crash pulled him in, Earnhardt's fate was as good as sealed even though he managed to finish on the lead lap. "I know we're all disappointed," Earnhardt said over his team radio after the checkered flag, "but that's how it works." Get more driver audio with RaceView . 32. Trevor Bayne , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing Bayne's hopes for a top-10 or better in the late stages appeared promising as he ran second with nine laps remaining. But with a top-10 effort in sight, Bayne's No. 21 was bumped out of the groove to the apron on the final restart, squelching his momentum and leaving him to languish as the final lead-lap finisher. "I hate what happened on the last restart but we'll move forward," Bayne said. The next race on the Wood Brothers' part-time schedule is next month at Texas Motor Speedway . 33. Terry Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing The Iceman's final start of his 890-race career that yielded two championships ended with a thud, one lap down at Talladega but with plenty of memories. Labonte started ninth -- his best qualifying effort of the four attempts he's made this season -- but dropped to the rear of the field in pace laps because of unapproved adjustments by the Frank Stoddard-owned team. He was unable to avoid the 10-car shunt on Lap 103, but continued on to the finish with repairs. 34. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Smoke was among the hardest hit in the 10-car dust-up on the backstretch, but he persevered despite what he initially thought was a tire rub after repairs. From there, Stewart simply tried to log laps at reduced speed, a move that helped him gain a handful of spots after a late five-car crash knocked out other drivers and sent the race into overtime. Get more driver audio with RaceView . 35. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing The earliest dose of bad luck visited the No. 1 team and defending race winner McMurray. Before the race was even 25 laps old, drivers behind Jamie Mac complained that his Chevy was leaking oil, shrouding their windshields in a haze of fluids. McMurray rallied to lead three laps (47-49) then caught the worst of the race's first caution period just 10 laps later, with contact knocking off the No. 1's rear bumper and forcing wholesale repair work. 36. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing The stoic Wisconsinite kept his fluorescent car near the head of the class most of the day, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the final yellow flag flew. Damage from the five-car confrontation on Lap 187 forced him out as one of the race's six early exits. Menard's two DNFs in each of the last two weekends have caused him to lose a spot in the Sprint Cup standings each week; he's now 22nd behind Brian Vickers . Watch video of the green-white-checkered wreck here . 37. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate recorded a career-best Sprint Cup starting position -- 10th -- but couldn't match the prowess at the end. His heavy damage in the final multicar wreck relegated Annett to his second DNF in the last four races. 38. Mike Wallace , No. 49 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing Wallace's fourth Sprint Cup start of the season -- and 194th of his career -- brought a new car number than the Jay Robinson-owned team's usual No. 66. The results, however, didn't significantly change as Wallace wound up eight laps off the leader's pace by the end of a 194-lap Talladega day. 39. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports Restrictor-plate tracks for the famed No. 43 car have been a mixed lot of results. Almirola's most recent run at Daytona yielded the first victory of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, but the other two -- a crash-related 39th in the Daytona 500 and 13th in Talladega's spring race -- left a sour taste. Almirola's contact with JJ Yeley on the backstretch ignited Sunday's largest wreck; though he returned to the track after his car underwent extensive repairs, the 30-year-old Floridian was 28 laps down at the finish. 40. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing The championship contender with the biggest free-fall to the "out" stack in the Contender Round finale was Busch, who slid seven places -- eight, if you count Keselowski's climb past him based on his Sunday win, not points -- in the Chase standings. Busch's No. 18 appeared to have slowed enough to sidestep major contact until Austin Dillon 's No. 3 piled into the maelstrom. "We're done," were among the first words Busch said over the team radio before driving back to the garage. The extraordinary repair job by the JGR crew ultimately went for naught as Busch wound up 49 laps down and eliminated from this year's title pursuit. Read more about Busch's day here . 41. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing The best start of McDowell's 163-race Sprint Cup career didn't make nearly as much hay in the finish column. His part-time No. 95 entry was crumpled in the first crash of the day, but soldiered on. After a scrape with the Turn 4 w
Michael Waltrip takes a stroll down pit road to talk with drivers and celebrities.
NASCAR.com's Lesley Robins talks to Michael Waltrip about ABC's Dancing With The Stars, racing , crying, and his newly developed abs.
NASCAR.com's Lesley Robins talks to Michael Waltrip about his recent performance on ABC's Dancing With The Stars and this week's upcoming race in Talladega.
Alan Cavanna reports on the latest information concerning NAPA and the future of Martin Truex Jr. at Michael Waltrip Racing .
Michael Waltrip talks about racing at Talladega and why he loves the racetrack and the fans.
See where each driver finished at Charlotte and why RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Harvick showed the "freaky fast" dominance that he's been notorious for throughout the 2014 season as he led for a total of 162 laps out of 334 to win the Bank of America 500 . Harvick started seventh in the field and maintained a top-10 presence. The No. 4 SHR driver won by pulling away on the final restart on Lap 333 to beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line by .571 seconds. Harvick enters the final race in the Contender Round with a win to guarantee a position in the Eliminator Round. Get more driver data with RaceView. 2. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Gordon wasted little time shooting from second place to stealing the lead from Kyle Busch on Lap 14. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver led for a total of 74 laps before finishing .571 seconds away from first. Gordon currently sits sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 18 points over Matt Kenseth , the first driver sitting in a position to be eliminated in ninth. 3. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing McMurray used an interesting pit strategy on a Lap 95 caution, only taking two tires. The pit move put the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing driver second in the field on the restart, alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who also only took two tires. Unlike Dale Jr., McMurrary maintained his position. CGR teammates McMurray and Larson went on to bounce in and out of the top five, giving the Chase drivers a run for their money along the way. McMurray ultimately finished third at Charlotte, achieving his seventh top five of his Cup career at the track. Get more pit data with RaceView. 4. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Logano played a low profile this week. Why make a scene when you're already guaranteed a spot in the Elimination Round of the Chase? "Sliced Bread" started 13th in the field, and besides his slight run-in with Danica Patrick on Lap 246 when he got into the back of the No. 10 coming out of Turn 2, causing Patrick to spin out, the Team Penske driver had a successful night. Logano remains on the top of the points standings heading into Talladega. See Logano's interaction with Patrick here . 5. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Pole-sitter Kyle Busch came out looking as strong as ever. Leading a total of 41 laps, the No. 18 Toyota driver had a lot of contenders gunning after his lead position and he just couldn't hold off the hard-charging Harvick. Despite losing the lead, Busch just added another top-five finish at Charlotte his new total of 10. Busch sits second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. 6. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing Larson found the high line early in the race and was able to fly into the top 10 on a restart after the competition caution on Lap 25. The No. 42 Chevrolet driver even saw the lead for five laps. The Chip Ganassi Racing rookie has been consistent for his first Sprint Cup Series season -- with eight top fives and now 16 top 10s, Larson's sixth-place finish proves he's a driver Chasers should be worried about now and in the future. 7. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Newman was running in the top 15 when a spin from Danica Patrick collected him and sent the No. 31 shooting across the track. Newman started the race fifth, and despite his incident managed to rally a top-10 finish. Newman now sits fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings as he heads to Talladega. See Newman's spin here . 8. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Starting 10th in the Bank of America 500 , Edwards didn't make any significant moves in the second race of the Contender Round of the Chase besides scoring his 13th top-10 finish at Charlotte. Looking ahead, Edwards is 12 points off of first in the standings. The No. 99 driver would need to finish 18th with no laps led, 19th with at least one lap led or 20th with most laps led at Talladega to advance in order to the clinch into the Eliminator Round of the Chase. 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Hamlin started the race third and surprisingly didn't see the lead until Lap 272 out of 334. Hamlin led 22 laps before falling short to eventual winner Kevin Harvick . The lead gave Hamlin enough momentum to remain in the top 10 from there on out. After the race on the cool down lap, Hamlin found himself tangled in post-race drama with Brad Keselowski . The No. 2 and No. 11 seemed to have a disagreement, causing Keselowski to try to wreck Hamlin. "He just tried to turn ya," Hamlin's crew chief explained to Hamlin. "Get out of there. Be smart. Don't do nothing stupid. Let Tony (Stewart) handle it." Get more in-race audio with RaceView . " View the video of the post-race drama here . 10. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Kahne escaped the craziness of what was the Bank of America 500 with a top-10 finish and even moved a position higher in the Chase standings. Currently sitting in the eighth position in the standings, in order for Kahne to clinch a spot in the Eliminator Round of the Chase he would have to win at Talladega. Kahne has three top-fives in 21 starts at the superspeedway with an average finish of 21.5. 11. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing The kind of run that Busch had at Charlotte was exactly the kind of run he needed earlier in the season to have remained in the Chase. Busch saw his way into the top five quickly after starting the race 11th in the field and even saw the lead for two laps. The No. 41 SHR driver finished 11th, more than 8 spots ahead of his average finishing position at the North Carolina track. 12. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing Although no longer in the Chase, Allmendinger is still running in the top 15. The 'Dinger started the race 26th and made significant positive movement in the race despite a pit road penalty on Lap 97 for equipment leaving his pit box. Allmendinger is also leading in the non-Chase driver standings. 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Improving his previous Charlotte showing, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitor started the Bank of America 500 20th in the field and eventually led for a total of six laps during a flurry of green-flag pits stops. Dillon has shown he's powerful on speedways, earning his first Coors Light Pole Award at the start of the year in the Daytona 500 . Dillon's previous trip to Talladega had him finishing 15th. Not bad for a rookie. 14. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing In one of Truex's better races this season, the Furniture Row Racing driver started 23rd and made huge gains by Lap 124 and was running as high as sixth. Truex's average finish at Charlotte is 18.5 in 19 starts, so his 14th-place finish is a move in a positive direction. Truex Jr. moved up one spot in the standings. 15. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports Still in his rookie season, Allgaier has only two Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte, his best run coming in the Bank of America 500 . Not only was this Allgaier's best run at Charlotte, it was also his best run of 2014. Could the HScott driver be catching on? 16. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske Unlike Keselowski's typical chamionship-worthy form, the No. 2 Team Penske driver fought to stay in the top 10 at Charlotte. It wasn't until after the race that Keselowski started to heat up. During the cool-down lap, the No. 2 and No. 11 seemed to have a disagreement, causing Keselowski to go after Denny Hamlin . Once heading onto pit road Keselowski then went after Matt Kenseth and also crashed into Tony Stewart along the way. Stewart had no tolerance for it and reversed himself into Keselowski. Back in the garage area, Hamlin and Kenseth went after Keselowski and physical altercations broke out between the No. 2 and No. 20 team. All in all, with a finish of 16th, Keselowski now must battle at Talladega next week to keep his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Keselowski sits 19 points behind the eighth-place cut off for the Eliminator Round. View the video of the post-race drama here . 17. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Better than his finish last week at Kansas, Johnson could have still had a better night in the Bank of America 500 . In his 27 starts, Johnson had earned seven wins at the North Carolina track, his most recent coming in the spring race of this year. Unlike his typical calm and cool demeanor, Johnson let a bit of the pressure get to him, resulting in a heated exchange with crew chief Chad Knaus over the radio as Knaus was trying to adjust Johnson's car. Hanging on the edge of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings in 11th, the Hendrick Motorsports driver must win at Talladega in order to clinch a spot in the next round. Johnson only has two wins in 25 starts at the Alabama superspeedway where he finished 23rd earlier this year. To hear the heated discussion click here . 18. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Even though Biffle is out of the Chase, he still found a way to make an impact. Biffle's 18th-place finish was not only better than his spring showing, but the non-Chaser took away a position that Kenseth and Dale Jr. were gunning for. 19. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing After starting the race in the rear for unapproved adjustments, winless Chase contender Kenseth worked his way through traffic and even saw the top five. It wasn't until Lap 272 that things started to shake up. During a restart on that lap, Kenseth and Keselowski made contact and Hamlin ran away with the lead. The contact dropped Kenseth from fourth back to 18th-place. Following Harvick's win, Kenseth was driving down pit road with his seat belt and HANS device off, and Keselowski charged from behind him to scrape the back side of the No. 20 Toyota Camry. Kenseth later found Keselowski on pit road and a fight broke out between the two teams. View the video of the post-race drama here . 20. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Earnhardt Jr. needed Charlotte to be a success story. He even went as far as declaring his win a day before the race. "We're gonna win this race," Earnhardt said in a televised interview after Friday's first practice at Charlote. "I've got a really good feeling about it." Earnhardt Jr. pitted before pit road was open on Lap 138 and got a penalty, forcing him to restart in the rear. The No. 88 crew also had to deal with a broken shifter in the Hendrick Chevrolet. Earnhardt was also penalized for speeding on pit road which ultimately set him back further in the field. After a second penalty for speeding and constantly battling to stay on the lead lap, Dale Jr. finished the race 20th and is currently 12th in the Chase standings with one race left in the Contender Round. Junior has the best record at Talladega of any of the Chasers on the bubble going into next round with five wins, 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s in 29 career starts. 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing It looked like a quiet night for Stewart. The SHR co-owner and driver started fourth in the field and by Lap 4 had stolen third from Hamlin. He eventually drifted back, occasionally making an appearance in the top 10. Stewart finished the race 21st and was heading down pit road when Keselowski made contact with the No. 14 as he was attempting to go after Kenseth. Stewart had zero tolerance for the No. 2's behavior and put his SHR Chevrolet into reverse, crunching the hood of Keselowski. View the video of the post-race drama here . 22. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports It's a good thing Almirola is no longer in the Chase running. His poor showings at both Kansas (31st) and Charlotte (22nd) would be a surefire way to eliminate himself. The No. 43 team couldn't seem to find their groove on Saturday night and caught themselves a lap down on Lap 85. After starting 15th, Almirola just dropped back. We know the RPM driver is capable of more because he finished 11th in the spring race this year. Perhaps, Almirola is experiencing more of a laid back attitude now that the Chase pressure is off his shoulders. 23. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing With three previous DNFs at Charlotte, just finishing the race is an accomplishment for the No. 40 team. Cassill's 23rd-place finish is his second best in nine starts at the track. His best was 18th in 2012. Although Cassill only finished 331 out of 334 laps, this is still a move in the right direction. 24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing While this isn't Stenhouse's worst finish at Charlotte, it isn't his best either. The No. 17 RFR driver started 28th in the field and didn't see much movement. Perhaps he was distracted by his contact he made with Mears on Lap 109. From the looks of it, it seemed intentional and Mears headed to pit road. If Stenhouse gets his mind back on racing , he might find himself in the top five at Talladega, as he was in 2013. 25. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports 2014 hasn't been Ambrose's year at Charlotte. This weekend earning 25th, and then previously finishing 29th in the spring, he doesn't seem like he's looking to leave his mark on the Cup Series before he leaves after the end of the season. Moving forward, although the No. 9 is a road course expert, he did once earn a top five on Talladega Superspeedway . 26. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Patrick celebrated a small victory early in the race as she moved up 11 positions to fourth in the race off pit road following the competition caution on Lap 25. After that, the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing driver quickly fell into the 20s. Patrick brought herself back up to 11th but spun in Turn 2 after trying to get around Logano. Patrick collected Ryan Newman with her. "It was such a bummer for the GoDaddy team," Patrick said. "We were having such a good night, and I really think we had a car that was capable of a top-10 finish tonight, and that got taken away from us for really no reason. It's just really frustrating. Charlotte has not been good to me." The No. 10 suffered damage to the right-rear and front end as she hit the wall but was able to continue with the race. Patrick ultimately finished 26th, her second-best finish at the track in five starts. See Patrick's spin here . 27. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Sorenson started 30th in the field and finished just three positions better. The No. 36 driver finished 42nd in the spring race, ultimately improving his finish by 15 positions in the fall race. Looking ahead, Sorenson has four DNFs at Talladega, his most recent coming in the spring. The Tommy Baldwin Racing driver's best finish at the superspeedway is 10th in 2007. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitior Whitt made his fourth Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte and scored his second-best finish. Whitt started 36th and finished 28th, raising him one spot in the Cup standings. 29. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing Scoring his best finish at Charlotte in 11 starts, McDowell might be on to something. Although he only improved two spots from his starting position, the No. 95 driver is chipping away at his high average finish of 36.3 30. Alex Bowman , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing In his second career start at Charlotte, rookie Bowman may have had a finish barely inside the top 30, but it's the better of his two appearances, so that has to be a step in the right direction. His pit crew, on the other hand, might be what's slowing him down. On Lap 330, nearing the end of the race, Bowman pitted and was penalized for a missing lugnut on his car. Without that, could the No. 23 rookie have pulled off a top-20 finish? 31. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing It's been about seven years, but Mears knows what it feels like to win at Charlotte. More often than that, though, he knows how it feels to get a DNF at the track. Thankfully, the No. 13 driver avoided the latter, but finished several positions off his average of 23.6. 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Finishing two spots behind his position a week prior at Kansas, it seems like Gilliland might only drop off the map from here on out, or we could see another top 10 performance at Talladega like he put on in 2013. Although the No. 38 driver gained five positions from his starting spot, he still finished a few places behind his average of 29.8. 33. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Annett got into the wall on Lap 266, bringing out a caution at Charlotte. The No. 7 driver also experienced leakage earlier in the race, but finished 33rd despite his shortcomings. Annett finished 28th in his first start at Charlotte in the spring. 34. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Ragan saw no movement at Charlotte after starting the race in the same position as he ended. Ragan's average finish at Charlotte is 23.7, but his last six efforts have all been worse than that. Looking ahead, the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports driver actually has a win at Talladega than came in the spring of 2013. 35. Corey LaJoie, No. 77 Ford, Randy Humphrey Racing Making his second career Cup start and his first at his hometrack, LaJoie didn't exactly make a grand entrance. The 23 year old started the race 42nd, so to say he didn't make any gains would be a lie, they were just few and far between. 36. Timmy Hill , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Spilled gasoline in Hill's pit box brought a small fire that was quickly extinguished on pit road. If only the No. 33 brought the same heat to the track. Hill finished 36th in his fourth start at Charlotte. This is the third time out of those four starts that Hill has finished 36th. 37. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Vickers was running in the top 15 when he spun in Turn 2, bringing out a caution on Lap 237. Vickers was then running 20th when his engine blew on Lap 328, bringing out another caution. Vickers finished 37th after starting the race eighth. This is Vickers' second time finishing 37th in 17 starts at Charlotte. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing Yeley's best performance at Charlotte came in 2007 when he finished second. Since then, the No. 83 driver has hardly seen finishes inside the top 30. Although this isn't Yeley's worst finish at Charlotte, he's seen better days. 39. Blake Koch , No. 32 Ford, FAS Lane Racing Koch's 39th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 was the worst position the driver has earned in his total of three starts at the track. The only other tracks Koch has raced s Cup car are Phoenix and Dover. Some experience on different styles of tracks could help out the 29-year-old. 40. Brett Moffitt , No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing In his first start at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the 22-year-old Sprint Cup part-timer was just getting his feet wet. Moffitt has made four other Cup starts this season, scoring his best finish of 22nd in his series debut at Dover. 41. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing Wise had to head to the garage for vibrations on Lap 81, but returned on Lap 116. Not making any big moves, the No. 98 came down the apron, car smoking at Lap 221 bringing out a caution. Wise ultimately finished 41st and 156 laps behind. 42. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing On Lap 136, Menard brought out a caution as the No. 27 blew an engine and was forced to the garage. This was Menard's second career DNF at Charlotte, his first coming in 2008. Menard started sixth in the race and had showed potential of a top-10 finish. 43. Clint Bowyer , No 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Bowyer faced engine issues on Lap 96, which brought out a caution, and ultimately had to take the No. 15 Toyota to the garage. This is Bowyer's first DNF at Charlotte and his fourth of 2014, his first coming in the season-opening Daytona 500 . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceVie FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Get caught up quickly before the GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize What: 46th annual GEICO 500 Where: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama When: Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 TV/Radio: ESPN, Motor Racing Network Time: 2:00 p.m. ET Distance: 188 laps (500.08 miles) Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 70 mph On the front row " Starting lineup 1. Brian Vickers , Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota (196.129 mph) 2. Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (195.732 mph) Failed to qualify Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford); Justin Allgaier (HScott Motorsports No. 51 Chevrolet); Joe Nemechek (RAB Racing No. 29 Toyota) To the rear Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski will drop to the rear of the field prior to the start of today's race. Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing team changed engines in the No. 20 Toyota Saturday morning while Keselowski's Team Penske group made an alternator change before qualifying. Kenseth qualified 13th while Keselowski was fifth fastest. Going out in style Two-time NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte will make his final Sprint Cup start today, driving the No. 32 Ford fielded by Go FAS Racing . It will be the 61st start at Talladega for Labonte, tying the mark currently held by Dave Marcis, and Labonte’s 890th career Cup start. The decklid of the car features artwork depicting his first Cup entry, as well as the two in which he won championships in '84 and '96. Fastest in practice First Practice: Clint Bowyer , Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota (200.385 mph) Final Practice: Kyle Busch , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota (195.205 mph) Defending GEICO 500 Champion Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet Driver rating (Best driver rating average at Talladega Superspeedway based on past nine years) Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (94.8*) Matt Kenseth , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (90.9) Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Hendrick Motorsports No 88 Chevrolet (90.3) *Based on one career start Former Talladega winners in the field Jeff Gordon (6); Dale Earnhardt Jr . (5); Clint Bowyer , Jimmie Johnson , Terry Labonte , Jamie McMurray , Brad Keselowski (2); David Ragan , Tony Stewart , Brian Vickers , Michael Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin (1). MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation