Brad Keselowski holds on to win wreck-filled Geico 500 at Talladega

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In a day of numerous multi-car wrecks and other strange happenings, Brad Keselowski stayed out of trouble to win Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Keselowski won on the final lap under caution, as yet another wreck occurred behind him just before he reached the start-finish line, bringing out the yellow flag.

It was Keselowski’s fourth career Sprint Cup victory at the 2.66-mile tri-oval. He led 46 of the 188 laps, including the final 17, taking over the lead for good from teammate Joey Logano on Lap 172.

“I never thought I’d ever win here four times,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “I’m super-pumped. This is awesome.”

It was also Keselowski’s 19th career Sprint Cup victory and his second of the season, having won previously this year at Las Vegas. The win ties Keselowski with the career-win total of the late Davey Allison, who like Keselowski, earned his first Sprint Cup win at Talladega in 1987.

“This Fusion was hauling and one of the tickets to staying out of wrecks at Talladega is if you can stay up front, you have a great shot at not getting wrecked,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “To be back in Victory Lane and have two wins this year, we’re looking for more and are really growing as a team. This feels really good, really good.”

Kyle Busch was second, followed by Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, pole-sitter Chase Elliott, Tony Stewart (Ty Dillon became relief driver for the final two-thirds of the race), Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne.

There were 10 cautions for 41 laps, and a massive 37 lead changes among 17 drivers.

MORE: Results and stats for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

MORE: Kevin Harvick regains points lead despite last-lap crash at Talladega

HOW KESELOWSKI WON: It was a matter of survival of the fittest, as the No. 2 stayed out of trouble almost the entire race, stayed in or near the top-10 and grabbed the lead for good with 17 laps remaining (Lap 172).

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Kyle Busch ran a strong race, but was unhappy at some of the carnage throughout the event. “Second’s not bad. I think the quota of three cars on their lids is a little high, but that’s racing,” Busch told Fox Sports … Third-place finisher Austin Dillon: “To come home with a finish like this and so much work put into this car, it was a wrecked but we finished third, I’m so proud of these guys.” … Chase Elliott started as pole-sitter and finished fifth. “We tried there at the end but just didn’t have enough momentum to get to those guys.” … Fourth-place finisher Jamie McMurray: “When you get to the end of these things, it’s every man for himself.”

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hope for a seventh win at Talladega went away after wrecking on Lap 50. He got his repaired car back on track on Lap 99, only to be involved in another wreck on Lap 110 when something broke in Carl Edwards‘ car, sending him into Earnhardt and the wall. Earnhardt had nowhere to go and finished last in the 40-car field … Chris Buescher (37th) went for the wildest ride of his rookie Sprint Cup career when he was in a wreck on Lap 96, flipping three times before coming to a rest on his wheels … After his best season finish last week at Richmond, Kasey Kahne was involved in two wrecks Sunday and finished 39th … Yet another multi-car wreck occurred on Lap 160 when Danica Patrick (finished 25th) appeared to be pushed from behind, hit the inside retaining wall head-on, while Matt Kenseth (23rd) flipped over before landing on his wheels.

NOTABLE: Tony Stewart started the race and remained behind the wheel until Lap 53, when he exited his No. 14 Chevrolet and was replaced by Ty Dillon. The move had been planned going into the race … Michael Waltrip made his 60th career start at Talladega and, including today, has now led at least one lap for 34 of those races … Denny Hamlin had a costly pit stop on Lap 53. First, he overshot his pit, backed up, then after receiving service was leaving his pit stall and Greg Biffle was coming into his stall in front of Hamlin’s when both cars made contact. Hamlin’s car appeared okay, while Biffle had minor damage to his left rear. Hamlin then received a pit road penalty for having too many crew members over the wall. Hamlin again had issues on Lap 129, when he spun out coming into his stall and made contact with Landon Cassill.

QUOTE OF THE DAY, No. 1: “It come off, I didn’t have it on there. We were under caution so I just grabbed the shaft and steered the car that way. I ripped the skin off my hand but I wasn’t going to let it hit the wall. It was just a freak deal.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose steering wheel came off before he was able to reattach it shortly before his wreck with Carl Edwards.

QUOTE OF THE DAY, No. 2: “It didn’t end up as well as we liked to. Two days in a row, a couple big hits. I can’t wait to get out of this place.” — Joey Logano, who had hard hits at the end of Saturday’s Xfinity race and Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY, No. 3: “I’ve hit the inside wall of a superspeedway like four times now, and that was the worst. … I know I got drilled from behind, turned sideways and it was, ‘Hello, wall.'” — Danica Patrick.

WHAT’S NEXT: GoBowling 400, Saturday, May 7, 7:30 p.m. ET, at Kansas Speedway.

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Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway

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After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.

FRONTRUNNERS

Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

WINNERS

Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.

LOSERS

Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte

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CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte