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Keselowski Holds Off Wreck-Thinned Field At ‘Dega

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 1 2016
Brad Keselowski survived and one a brutal Sprint Cup race at Talladega on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

Brad Keselowski survived and one a brutal Sprint Cup race at Talladega on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Brad Keselowski spent the last 30 or so laps of Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in the only safe place at the 2.66-mile oval – out front. And that’s where he sat at the end of the last lap as he won the crashfest at NASCAR biggest track.

sprint-logo-08The victory was the fourth for the Team Penske driver at Talladega and it was his second of the season.

He led a race-best 48 laps.

“This Fusion was hauling and that’s one of the tickets, to stay out of the wrecks at Talladega,” Keselowski said. “If you can stay up front you got a great shot at not getting wrecked.”

Also a ticket to winning a plate race is getting help from behind. Keselowski also got that when he needed it.

“You need the cars behind you to push and a couple of them they did and a couple they didn’t,” he said. ” That’s just part of racing and there was nobody at fault with that.  We actually lost the lead and got a better run.  Jamie McMurray behind me gave me a great push and then Kyle Busch gave me a push that was big to clear the 41 and without those two I couldn’t have made it to the front, so thank you to them.  It’s Talladega.  This is my fourth win here.  I never thought I’d win at Talladega four times and I’m super-pumped.  This is awesome.”

Busch finished second and Austin Dillon third.

“Second’s not bad,” Busch said.

McMurray finished fourth and Chase Elliott fifth.

The No. 1 ( McMurray) could stick to my back bumper,” Dillon said, “and he gave me a heck of a push all the way through (Turns) 3 and 4 and when he did that, I knew we were going to have a shot at it. But as soon as I pulled out, it was kind of a parachute but I had to make a shot at it. I wanted to have a shot at the win. If I would have pushed the No. 18 (Busch), he might have beaten the No. 2 (Keselowski), I don’t know. But hat’s off to these guys. They fought so hard. We pitted 15 times, they said. That’s amazing.”

Not in a race which only 28 cars were running at the end and far fewer than that finished without major damage. Thirty-three of the 40 cars which started the race were involved in wrecks.

“Just looking in my mirror,” Kyle Busch said, “looking for that final restart, seeing the amount of cars behind me that didn’t have damage, I think I probably counted four, and I was sixth.  Maybe there was eight or ten of us that didn’t have it seemed like some sort of bandage.  Two of them in front of me had it on their cars.

“About everybody had some sort of damage and was tore up.  I don’t think there was a car that came out of this place without needing the body all redone, all the time and effort that the guys do at the shop rebuilding it.”

Perhaps the scariest wreck occurred on Lap 98. The big moment came when Chris Buescher’s care flew into the air came down and barrel rolled three times up the track.

“I just saw the replay,” Buescher said after leaving infield care center. “It was so quick I never had any time to react. We got clipped in the right rear and as soon as it turned it went up on its lid. I thought we were clear of the wreck. I saw it happening in front of us and checked up and the next thing I knew I was upside down. I am pretty sick and tired of speedway racing at this point. It has been a rough year for that. We felt we were decent this race. We were holding our own and waiting but here we are. It is unfortunate. I really hate it for the guys.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was involved in two severe wrecks. After the second, which occurred on Lap 110 and ended his day, Earnhardt said, ‘‘Hell, I’m going home. I’m done. We need to park the car for a while, too.”

The biggest wreck – the most significant big wreck, that is – occurred with 28 laps to go and it took out a large handful of car who had spent large portions of the race dicing for the lead. Among those were Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, McMurray, Dayton 500 winner Denny Hamlin and Dillon.

In all, 17 cars were involved in the wreck, which began when Kurt Busch hooked the left rear of Johnson’s car and sent it sideways into the wall.

The Penske cars of Keselowski and Logano restarted on the front row with 17 laps to go. Keselowski stayed out the front, but Logano fell backwards.

With eight laps to go, another win-capable car – that of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth, which led 39 laps – was run off the track by Danica Patrick. Kenseth car went airborne, pirouetted in mid air, came down on the inside wall SAFTER barrier, slid along that wall on its roof before rolling back to its wheels.

“I was just going straight and just got ran into,” Kenseth said.

The race restarted with three laps to go with Keselowski P1 on the outside and Kurt Busch next to him on the inside.

With a lap and a half to go, Kyle Busch made move to second place.

But nobody could get close enough or get a big enough run to pass Keselowski.

(This story will be updated shortly)

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – GEICO 500

Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega, Alabama

Sunday, May 01, 2016

  1. (7) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 188.
  2. (17) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 188.
  3. (2) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 188.
  4. (30) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 188.
  5. (1) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 188.
  6. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 188.
  7. (34) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 188.
  8. (18) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 188.
  9. (19) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 188.
  10. (13) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 188.
  11. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 188.
  12. (33) * Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 188.
  13. (12) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 188.
  14. (28) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 188.
  15. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 188.
  16. (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 188.
  17. (39) * David Gilliland, Ford, 188.
  18. (36) * Cole Whitt, Toyota, 188.
  19. (26) Bobby Labonte, Ford, 188.
  20. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 188.
  21. (31) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 188.
  22. (5) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 182.
  23. (4) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, Accident, 180.
  24. (37) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, Accident, 180.
  25. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 180.
  26. (10) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, Accident, 180.
  27. (23) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 180.
  28. (15) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 178.
  29. (24) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 173.
  30. (21) Brian Scott #, Ford, 172.
  31. (8) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 170.
  32. (25) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 168.
  33. (20) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 166.
  34. (40) David Ragan, Toyota, Engine, 151.
  35. (9) Carl Edwards, Toyota, Accident, 109.
  36. (35) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Engine, 98.
  37. (27) Chris Buescher #, Ford, Accident, 95.
  38. (38) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, Accident, 94.
  39. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, Accident, 82.
  40. (3) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, Accident, 63.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  140.046 mph.

Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 34 Mins, 15 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.

Caution Flags:  10 for 41 laps.

Lead Changes:  37 among 17 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Elliott # 1-13; M. Kenseth 14-28; C. Elliott # 29-38; M. Waltrip 39; Kyle Busch 40-51; A. Almirola 52; A. Allmendinger 53; D. Ragan 54-55; M. Waltrip 56; M. Kenseth 57-71; B. Keselowski 72-82; D. Hamlin 83; B. Keselowski 84; D. Hamlin 85-88; B. Keselowski 89-96; D. Patrick 97-99; K. Harvick 100-102; C. Elliott # 103-106; K. Harvick 107-108; T. Bayne 109-115; K. Harvick 116-117; T. Bayne 118; K. Harvick 119-120; T. Bayne 121-128; B. Labonte 129; R. Newman 130; C. Whitt 131; T. Bayne 132-135; K. Larson 136-137; T. Bayne 138; K. Larson 139-145; M. Kenseth 146-152; B. Labonte 153; M. Kenseth 154-155; T. Bayne 156; B. Keselowski 157-165; J. Logano 166-171; B. Keselowski 172-188.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  B. Keselowski 5 times for 46 laps; M. Kenseth 4 times for 39 laps; C. Elliott # 3 times for 27 laps; T. Bayne 6 times for 22 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 12 laps; K. Harvick 4 times for 9 laps; K. Larson 2 times for 9 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 6 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 5 laps; D. Patrick 1 time for 3 laps; D. Ragan 1 time for 2 laps; B. Labonte 2 times for 2 laps; M. Waltrip 2 times for 2 laps; C. Whitt 1 time for 1 lap; A. Almirola 1 time for 1 lap; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 1 lap; R. Newman 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 351; Kyle Busch – 342; C. Edwards – 337; J. Johnson – 329; J. Logano – 316; Kurt Busch – 312; B. Keselowski – 300; D. Earnhardt Jr – 279; M. Truex Jr – 274; A. Dillon – 272; C. Elliott # – 271; D. Hamlin – 269; J. McMurray – 261; A. Allmendinger – 232; M. Kenseth – 231; T. Bayne – 228.

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 1 2016
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Docg says:

    This demolition derby masquerading as a race has got to stop. Lower the banking, shorten the track, much smaller horsepower engines, no more racing at Talladega: SOMETHING to eliminate the need for restrictor plates and this fiasco.