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Keselowski’s Dream Move’s A Winner At Talladega

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 6 2012

Brad Keselowski's crew celebrates their victory at Talladega Sunday afternoon. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Talladega Superspeedway has become a big part of the evolving story of Brad Keselowski.

It was at Talladega three years ago that Keselowski held his ground on the final lap and got his first career Sprint Cup victory while Carl Edwards, after contact between the two of them, flew into the catch fence.

Since then, Keselowski won four more times, won a Chase berth in 2011 and established himself as one of the sport’s top stars.

On Sunday, in the Aaron’s 499, he pulled off a move that isn’t supposed to work to motor away from drafting partner Kyle Busch on the final lap and cruise to his sixth career victory.

On a green/white/checkered run to the finish, Keselowski used a push from Kyle Busch to bolt past the Roush Fenway Racing duo of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, who had difficulty getting hooked up in a two-car tandem and fell hopelessly behind.

Then Keselowski showed that he was just as good at unhooking from the tandem as he was at hooking up just one lap earlier.

As the two leaders raced into Turn Three on the final lap, Keselowski went high, then low, broke the draft

Brad Keselowski at Talladega. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

with Busch and motored the rest of the way to the checkered flag without a challenge. It threw to the curb the prevailing school of thought that the second-place driver had the advantage on the final lap at Talladega.

Keselowski said he’d dreamed of the move he’d make if he ever found himself in that particular scenario. Still, he said, it was hard to make an unproven move with so much on the line.

“I had this whole plan if I ever got in that situation where I was leading,” he said. “I thought about it and thought about it, dreamed about what to do and sure enough, going into three, it was just me and Kyle (Busch). And I knew the move I wanted to pull.

“It worked because the guy running second should have the advantage, but I had this move all worked up in my mind. Now everybody has seen it and they know it, but I’m glad I was able to get a win with it. I went into Turn 3 high and pulled down off of Kyle and broke the tandem up. That allowed me to drive untouched to the checkered flag. It wasn’t easy to convince myself to do that, but it was the right move.

“I’m glad it worked.”

An obviously disappointed Busch said he wasn’t sure how Keselowski got away at the end and he wasn’t sure if it was a planned maneuver or not.

“If he did [plan it] it was pretty smart,” Busch said.

Keselowski’s victory appears to put him in good position to take a spot in the Chase, which begins after the 26-race regular season and it further establishes him as one of the sport’s elite drivers.

Busch and Kenseth both agreed with that when queried after the race.

“He’s no dummy, that’s for sure,” Busch said. “He has good plate-racing skills, short track and mile-and-a-half too.

“He should be a title contender every year.”

Kenseth, who blamed himself for not doing a better job at managing the tandem at the end, said that many not directly involved in the sport may not realize how dedicated Keselowski is to his job.

“He works really hard at it,” Kenseth said. “People don’t give him enough credit for that.”

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 6 2012
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