Keselowski survives Talladega chaos for another overtime win

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA - APRIL 25: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 MoneyLion Ford, leads Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, and William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet, on the final lao of the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25, 2021 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

On a day that nearly crowned a fist time victor, Brad Keselowski stole the show taking the lead on the final lap of an overtime restart to win at Talladega Superspeedway, again, Sunday. It was his sixth win at NASCAR’s biggest speedway.

Four of his six wins have come with a lap last pass.

“Merry Christmas,” Keselowski said. “The whole race I had a couple opportunities to take the lead, but I just kept thinking, ‘Man, keep your car in one piece.’  We’ve been so close here and it just didn’t seem to want to come together here the last few years and I’ve been on kind of a four-year drought here, but it’s nice to get number six.

He now becomes the NASCAR Cup series active driver with the most wins at Talladega. His six wins tie him with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for most wins all time.

“I would have never dreamed I’d tie Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. here.  That’s something.  Those guys are really legends,” he said. I’m just really proud of my team.  We had an accident there early and they recovered and got it fixed up to where I could keep running.”

William Byron was second, Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell third with Kevin Harvick fourth. Matt DiBenedetto was fifth after leading the second most laps on the day, 28.

Joey Logano led 10 laps early but saw his day end with a wild flip as the field was coming to the end of Stage 1 but finished ahead of Kyle Larson who was forced to the garage with a blown engine after just three laps.

Denny Hamlin would lead the most laps on the day 43, but two consecutive pit road speeding penalties late in the second stage sent him to the back of the field. The on the final lap of Stage 2 a dust up with Truex, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and Byron on the frontstretch ended his hopes of winning.

DiBenedetto won his first career stage, winning Stage 1, and Bubba Wallace his as he won Stage 2 and led 16 laps. Wallace finished 19th.

The final overtime was set up by the races eighth and final caution when Martin Truex Jr. lost a tire two laps from the scheduled end of the race. DiBenedetto led at the green but decided to jump up to the high lane to block a hard charging, Ryan Blaney. That move gave Keselowski the opening he needed and with a push from McDowell went to the front and become the ninth different winner in the first 10 races in 2021.

“Our day will come,” a clearly disappointed but still smiling DiBenedetto said. “We’ll get there… It’s just so circumstantial—our day will come.”

Kaz Grala finished a career high fifth, with Tyler Reddick sixth. Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Cole Custer rounded out the top 10.

Keselowski now has his sights on 10 Talladega wins which would tie him with Dale Earnhardt.

“I want to keep going, but I’m really proud to be there with Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon — a long, long ways to ever catch Dale Earnhardt. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but to be on the same list is pretty cool.”

NASCAR heads to Kansas Speedway for next Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400.


NASCAR Cup Series Race Race Results GEICO 500
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, Alabama
Sunday, April 25, 2021

1. (10)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 191.
2. (4)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 191.
3. (23)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 191.
4. (16)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 191.
5. (13)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 191.
6. (38)  Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, 191.
7. (20)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 191.
8. (11)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 191.
9. (7)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 191.
10. (27)  Cole Custer, Ford, 191.
11. (25)  Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 191.
12. (30)  Anthony Alfredo #, Ford, 191.
13. (28)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 191.
14. (29)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 191.
15. (14)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 191.
16. (18)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 191.
17. (6)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 191.
18. (9)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 191.
19. (24)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 191.
20. (39)  Harrison Burton(i), Toyota, 191.
21. (21)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 191.
22. (26)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 191.
23. (19)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 191.
24. (8)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 191.
25. (31)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 191.
26. (37)  JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 191.
27. (22)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, Accident, 190.
28. (33)  Cody Ware(i), Chevrolet, 190.
29. (40)  Timmy Hill(i), Ford, 190.
30. (34)  Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, 190.
31. (3)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 189.
32. (1)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 188.
33. (17)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 186.
34. (35)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, 186.
35. (15)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 185.
36. (36)  Josh Bilicki, Ford, 180.
37. (32)  Quin Houff, Chevrolet, Accident, 168.
38. (5)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, DVP, 123.
39. (2)  Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 59.
40. (12)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 3.
Average Speed of Race Winner:  147.62 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 26 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.102 Seconds.

Caution flags:  7 for 34 laps.

Lead Changes:  35 among 17 drivers

Lap Leaders:   W. Byron 1;J. Logano 2-11;B. Wallace 12-14;K. Harvick 15-18;B. Wallace 19-21;K. Busch 22-26;C. Briscoe # 27;D. Hamlin 28-48;R. Blaney 49-50;M. DiBenedetto 51-54;*. Preece 55-56;M. DiBenedetto 57-62;R. Newman 63;C. Elliott 64-66;D. Hamlin 67-68;M. DiBenedetto 69-71;W. Byron 72;D. Hamlin 73-92;K. Busch 93;*. Preece 94-100;W. Byron 101-110;M. DiBenedetto 111;B. Wallace 112-121;R. Newman 122;R. Blaney 123-131;A. Almirola 132-147;R. Chastain 148-150;K. Harvick 151-152;R. Chastain 153;K. Harvick 154-159;C. Bell 160-161;R. Chastain 162-169;E. Jones 170-176;M. DiBenedetto 177-190;B. Keselowski 191.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Denny Hamlin 3 times for 43 laps; Matt DiBenedetto 5 times for 28 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 16 laps; Bubba Wallace 3 times for 16 laps; William Byron 3 times for 12 laps; Kevin Harvick 3 times for 12 laps; Ross Chastain 3 times for 12 laps; Ryan Blaney 2 times for 11 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 10 laps; * Ryan Preece 2 times for 9 laps; Erik Jones 1 time for 7 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 6 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 3 laps; Ryan Newman 2 times for 2 laps; Christopher Bell 1 time for 2 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 1 lap; Chase Briscoe # 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 21,12,9,11,24,17,48,34,4,20

Stage #2 Top Ten: 23,2,34,18,37,12,17,47,20,96