Race Weekend Central

Brad Keselowski Simply Survives for Talladega Victory

If you finished Sunday’s Alabama 500, you came home happy.

With only 14 cars running at the finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad Keselowski topped them all after winning off a last-lap pass on Ryan Newman.

Keselowski, who led only seven laps on the day, passed the No. 31 through turns 3 and 4 and cleared the small pack for his third win of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and fifth at Talladega. The win also came on his 300th Cup start.

Newman held on for second, but was just “trying to not get wrecked” in the final three laps to the end, the only laps he truly raced, according to the Richard Childress Racing man.

“I wish we could’ve pulled it off,” Newman said. “I kept my foot in it and did what I thought was right. I simply got double-tag-teamed, it kind of reminded me of the old days of tandem drafting. Just not the end result we wanted but we needed that after my screw-up last week.”

Trevor Bayne overcame multiple accidents to finish third followed by Joey Logano and Aric Almirola, scoring his first top-five finish since returning from his injury at Kansas in May.

For Logano, he lacked that one last run to catch and pass Keselowski for the win.

“I was able to push Brad to the lead,” Logano said. “I tried to get one more run off Turn 4, went to split them in the center and the hole closed up.”

Thankfully, there were no injuries on Sunday, as 11 cautions flew on the day, swallowing up nearly every starter during the 188-lap race.

The opening accident included a playoff driver — something that became normal by the end of the afternoon. That was Jamie McMurray, who turned into the path of traffic following an attempted pit road entry.

With drivers like Joey Gase, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney and others crashing out of the event in smaller accidents, the Big One occurred with 17 laps to go, demolishing Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, defending track winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and more.

For Kyle Busch, a second straight finish of 27th or worse in the Round of 12, his playoff advancement is in doubt for the cutoff race next weekend at Kansas Speedway.

“We threw away a lot of it last week,” Busch said of playoff points. “This will probably put us right on the border and we’ll have to go to Kansas to have a good run.”

With the window open for the back half of the field, Ty Dillon scored a career-best finish of 11th while David Ragan got his third top 10 of 2017. Gray Gaulding grabbed his first top-10 finish in his Cup career, finishing ninth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., running his final Talladega race, came home seventh after starting from pole. The No. 88 had multiple close calls on the day, dodging every accident to contend for the win at the end.

“I know a lot of folks traveled here to see us run,” he said. “I know they wanted to see a win, but hopefully they enjoyed it.”

Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne filled in the top 10.

Unofficial Results of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500

About the author

Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.

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spot1

A complete shit-show. Glad to see it’s done.

Bobby DK

Agree. What a waste of money, man power, and resources. Should just put a figure eight course in tri-oval.

Capt Spaulding

with tandem chained schoolbuses

Dewayne

I went to a figure 8 enduro in September at the Speedrome and did not have near the carnage……

Capt Spaulding

Maybe next year,
if Danica gets a figure 8 enduro entry.

Lynne

Bayne has caused far more accidents than Danica.

Tom B

I thought Ryan Newman was the hardest driver to pass on the track. Brad made it look easy. Two of the last three races Ryan Newman was directly involved in the outcome of the race. He’s still a player.

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