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


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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eNASCAR Pro Invitational Qualifier to be streamed online

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The qualifying race for Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway will be streamed on, NASCAR announced.

The qualifier features Xfinity, Truck and regional series drivers looking to advance to the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race that will be at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox, FS1 and the Fox Sports App. At this time, four drivers from the qualifier will advance. That number could change depending on any late additions or drops to the race featuring Cup drivers.

MORE: Roush, Greg Biffle reunite for eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race

MORE: North Wilkesboro to make its comeback on iRacing 

MORE: eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series reminds Clint Bowyer of being a rookie

The qualifier is scheduled to take place at 11:02 a.m. ET and have 34 drivers battling for those four transfer spots.

The qualifier will be 30 laps at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway. The race will have no cautions.

Practice begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Qualifying begins at 10:55 a.m., lasting five minutes, followed by the race.

Last week, six drivers advanced from the qualifier to the main event. They were: Anthony Alfredo, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ty Majeski and Ryan Truex.

Drivers scheduled to compete in Sunday’s qualifier at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway are (with car number):

02 – Spencer Boyd

7 – Justin Allgaier

08 – Jeb Burton

15 – Brennan Poole

16 – Justin Haley

22 – Austin Cindric

23 – Sam Mayer

26 – Tyler Ankrum

27 – Ruben Garcia

29  – Kaz Grala

29a – Trevor Bayne

33 – Anthony Alfredo

35 – Todd Gilliland

36 – Jesse Iwuji

40 – Ryan Truex

45 – Ty Majeski

46 – Chandler Smith

50 – Jeffrey Earnhardt

52 – Stewart Friesen

53 – Joey Gase

54 – Kyle Weatherman

63 – Scott Stenzel

68 – Brandon Brown

74 – Sheldon Creed

78 – Ryan Ellis

80 – Joe Graf Jr.

81 – Christian Eckes

90 – Alex Labbe

93 – Myatt Snider

98 – Chase Briscoe

99 – Harrison Burton

TBD – Derek Kraus

TBD – Drew Dollar

TBD – JJ Yeley

March 28 in NASCAR history: Texas Terry Labonte gets a home win

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Terry Labonte’s last two Cup Series wins were anything but forgettable.

The last one, in 2003, came in the Southern 500. That was the same race he earned his first Cup win in way back in 1980.

But four years earlier, the two-time champion got a home win.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, the driver nicknamed “Texas Terry” claimed a victory in the 1999 race at Texas Motor Speedway. It was just the third Cup race held at the facility after it opened in 1997.

Labonte started fourth and would lead 124 of 334 laps around the 1.5-mile track, including the final 12 after he passed Dale Jarrett on the outside going into Turn 1 for the lead.

Jarrett wouldn’t get a chance to fight for the lead again. With four laps to go, Jimmy Spencer crashed on the frontstretch to bring out the caution. Labonte took the checkered and yellow flags together for his 21st Cup win.

“We picked places to go test this year and I said ‘I want to go here cause this is a race I want to win,” Labonte told CBS. “Besides Daytona, coming here to Texas is awesome.”

Making the day even better for the Labonte family was Terry’s younger brother, Bobby, placing third.

Also on this day:

1954: The premier series held two races on different sides of the country. Dick Rathmann won a 125-mile race at Oakland Speedway in California after starting last. In Georgia, Al Keller won his first career race at Savannah’s Oglethorpe Speedway.

1982: Sam Ard claimed his first career Xfinity Series win in a race at Martinsville Speedway. Ard would go on to win 22 Xfinity races and the championships in 1983 and 1984.

1992: Robert Pressley passed Harry Gant on the last lap to win the Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

1993: Dale Earnhardt came back from a lap down to win at Darlington Raceway. It was his first win since the Coca-Cola 600 10 months earlier. Alan Kulwicki finished sixth in what would be his last race before his death in a plane crash on April 1.

2004: Kurt Busch won at Bristol for his third consecutive victory on the half-mile track.

Roush, Biffle reunite for eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race

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After four years, Roush Fenway Racing and Greg Biffle are getting the band back together … digitally.

Roush Fenway Racing announced its former driver will compete in Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event on a digital Texas Motor Speedway.

Like he did in the Cup Series from 2003-2016, Biffle will pilot a No. 16 Ford in the race (1 p.m. ET on Fox and FS1).

“How exciting is it to get back behind the wheel of the No. 16,” Biffle said in a press release. “I watched the iRace last week on TV and I was really impressed with the overall quality of the broadcast and the racing. It was just a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the show this weekend.

“We are running a really cool Castrol scheme on the car. I think it’s going to show up really well. My plan is to log a ton of practice time leading up to the race, so hopefully we can have a strong showing and you’ll see a lot of the Castrol green and red on the broadcast.”

This will be Biffle’s iRacing event debut.

After parting ways with Roush Fenway Racing after the 2016 season, Biffle returned to NASCAR last year for a one-off Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway with Kyle Busch Motorsports, which he won.

NASCAR teams impacted by North Carolina stay at home order

Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a stay at home order for the entire state of North Carolina, beginning at 5 p.m. ET Monday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order is for 30 days.

The move impacts all NASCAR teams based in North Carolina.

“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously,” Gov. Cooper said in afternoon news briefing.

MORE: N.C. Governor enlists Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson for COVID-19 PSA

MORE: North Carolina stay at home order

The order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other. The order requires all residents to stay at home except for essential activities. The order states: “non-essential business and operations must cease.”

The order also states that among the definitions for an essential business and operation is “Businesses that meet Social Distancing Requirements. Businesses, not-for-profit organizations or educational institutions that conduct operations while maintaining Social Distancing Requirements:

a. Between and among its employees; and

b. Between and among employees and customers except at the point of sale or purchase.”

Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County, which are home to such race teams as Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing, were already under a stay at home order through April 16.

By the end of the week, more than 20 states will have issued stay at home orders, including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.