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NASCAR Cup: Brad Keselowski adds another Talladega win


Brad Keselowski claimed his sixth Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway win in the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday when he took the lead on the final lap of an overtime restart in the Geico 500. The win was his first of the 2021 season but extended his lead over all other Cup Series active drivers in Talladega wins.

The last lap was the only lap led by Keselowski in the race that was scheduled for 188 laps but extended by the seventh caution of the race on lap 185 for debris from a flat tire for Martin Truex Jr. A group of Fords restarted up front, led by Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney on the front row, but when the Ford draft fell apart in the two-lap sprint to the finish, Michael McDowell pushed Keselowski to the lead and the win.

“If you’re gonna lead 187 and not lead the last one, that’s not so good,” Keselowski said. “I think I’ll take the last one, and that’s exactly how it worked out, leading the last one. It opened up, the lane did. Matt went to block the 12 (Blaney), and I just barely got inside of him with a huge run.  I got a great push from Michael McDowell, which was really helpful and appreciated, so just a big day.”

William Byron got by McDowell just before the checkered flag to take second and relegate McDowell to third. Kevin Harvick and DiBenedetto rounded out the top-five.

Denny Hamlin led a race-high 43 laps but wound up with a 32nd-place finish. He was the official pole sitter, but along with most of the other Toyota drivers in the race, he had to drop to the back for the initial green flag because of an unapproved adjustment. The Toyotas got to the front by a a lap-25 competition caution, and Hamlin took his first lead by getting out of the pits first during the first yellow flag.

He managed two pit-road speeding penalties during a single cycle of green-flag pit stops before lap 90. then, he was among the drivers involved in the second of two multi-car crashes in the race on lap 119.

Both of the 60-lap stages in the first 120 laps ended under caution for the two multi-car crashes. Matt DiBenedetto claimed the stage one win after aa lap 60-crash that included Joey Logano’s car getting airborne and flipping over the car driven by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.

“I guess I don’t know exactly what to think,” Logano said. “It is a product of this (superspeedway) racing. On one hand, I am so proud to drive a Cup car that is safe, and that I can go through a crash like that and get out and speak about it. On one hand, I am mad about being in the crash and on the other, I am happy to be alive. On another hand, I am wondering when we are going to stop, because this is dangerous doing what we are doing. I got a roll bar in my head. That is not okay. I am one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through (in the 2020 Daytona 500). I just don’t feel like that is acceptable. A lot of it is the big spoiler and the big runs and all the pushing. It is nobody’s fault. Denny [Hamlin] is trying to go and the 47 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) is trying to go. It is a product of this racing. We have to fix it though. Someone already got hurt, and we are still doing it, so that’s not real smart. At the same time, I am appreciative of driving a car that is this safe and what Team Penske has done for the safety of these cars so that I can live to talk about it and go again. I got lucky that I didn’t get hit while I was in the air. It is unfortunate for our Autotrader Mustang but we will go on but it won’t be a good starting spot next week.”

The damage to Wallace’s car was slight, and he went on to win the second stage.

Before his troubles, Hamlin led the most laps in both of the 60-lap stages, running up front for 21 laps in stage one and 22 in stage two. DiBenedetto was the only driver to lead more than 20 laps throughout the race, running up front for 28 laps.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Kaz Grala, Tyler Reddick, Austin Dillon, Blaney and Cole Custer.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:

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Posted by on April 25, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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