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: 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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