Sunday, October 15, 2017

Brad Keselowski Gets Fifth Talladega Victory

Brad Keselowski celebrates in Victory Lane in Talladega, Alabama on October 15, 2017
Credit: Jared C. Tilton

by Courtney Horn

Brad Keselowski survived a wild and chaotic day in Alabama to earn his fifth victory at Talladega SuperSpeedway, leading seven laps and advancing into the next round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Keselowski, who earned the 24th victory of his MENCS career, battled with communication issues most of the day during the Alabama 500.

“It’s a special day any day you can win, but to win at Talladega for the fifth time is something I was never sure I’d have the opportunity to do.” Keselowski said,” Just winning here once felt pretty incredible, and it’s hard to believe that was eightsome years ago.”

“To win here again, it still feels pretty darned good. It doesn’t feel much different. I’m a little older now, but yeah, you never know when your first win or last win could be, and I want to of course soak this one up and be thankful for it.”

Ryan Newman scored his 12th top-10 finish of the season with second, followed by Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola.

There were multiple playoff contenders involved in wrecks during the Alabama 500, with Jamie McMurray taking the biggest hit to his championship hopes early in the race.

On Lap 27 Erik Jones got into the back of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver while the leaders began to pit. The incident also ended the days of Jeffrey Earnhardt, Justin Marks, and Mark Thompson.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh after avoiding multiple wrecks throughout the day, including the “Big One” on Lap 171.

“I thought the car had enough to win before we bent the splitter down, and it was a great car all weekend.” Earnhardt explained, “I’m glad to be able to finish and finish well. That means a lot to me. I know a lot of folks came and traveled here to see us run, so I know their disappointed we didn’t win, but I’m glad they got to see us run the whole event, and hopefully they enjoyed it.”

Martin Truex Jr. took the blame for a 16-car pile-up that resulted in the Furniture Row Racing driver finishing in the 23rd position. Truex made contact with the No. 38 of David Ragan and collected Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., among three other playoff contenders.

There were 11 cautions during the Alabama 500, three resulting in red flags.

Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick suffered significant damage that resulted in the drivers not being able to continue. The accident occurred when Joey Logano got loose while going three wide with Blaney and the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne.

Bayne and Logano were able to continue, earning third and fourth place finishes, respectively.

Rookie Daniel Suarez finished 15th despite being involved in a multi-car accident that resulted in the longest red flag of the evening, at 17 minutes and 14 seconds. Suarez was leading when Chase Elliott turned him from behind. Elliott finished 16th.

Keselowski’s victory came in his 300th start. He sits second in points, 19 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series head to Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Coverage starts at 3 p.m ET on the NBC Sports Network.

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