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Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch involved in Stage 1 wreck

Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, and Alex Bowman sustain significant damage in a chain-reaction crash at Talladega, which forces Almirola into a virtual must-win situation next week at the Charlotte Roval.

Defending Talladega winner Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch were involved in a multi-car wreck with three laps left in Stage of Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega.

The wreck occurred on the backstretch and started when race leader Aric Almirola was turned into the outside wall by Alex Bowman.

Kyle Busch was fourth in line behind Almirola, Bowman and Joey Logano when the wreck began. Busch’s car briefly left the ground as it slid to the inside of the track and collected Blaney.

Almirola was eliminated from the race. He had entered the event 27 points behind the cutoff to advance to the Round of 8.

Austin Dillon, who entered the race last on the playoff grid, was also involved

Chris Buescher wound up with the stage win, the first of his career.

“I’m OK, " Almirola told NBC. “I know I got hit from behind and turned into the outside fence. It’s such a shame.”

Busch, who entered the race nine points behind the cutoff, would experience another setback on Lap 8 of Stage 2, when his left front tire shredded, causing further damage to his car. He was able to continue after his team made repairs.