It had to be done. Brad Keselowski needed either a miracle or a win at Talladega. To get a miracle, you need lots of help from others, to win – you just have to get up on the wheel and go after it. That is exactly what Keselowski did.
The No. 2 Redds Wicked Apple Ale Ford ran strong all day. The team did get a little nervous, however, when the No. 1 of Jamie McMurray cut down a tire and spun into the right side door of Keselowski.
The team quickly repaired the damage and it did not seem to affect him the rest of the day. In true championship form, they recovered from adversity and rallied to win.
An excited Brad Keselowski commented about his win in victory lane, “Well, I guess first off Dave (Rogers) the right way wasn’t probably last week, went through a lot of adversity, and that makes this week a little more special.”
Sunday’s win was Keselowski’s sixth of the season and it gives him an automatic advancement to the eliminator round of the Chase.
Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jimmie Johnson both ran up front for most of the day were both eliminated from the Chase. Earnhardt, who led 31 laps, was caught up in a late race crash and finished 31st. Johnson, who led 84 laps, the most of any driver, got shuffled back on the last green white checkered and finished 24th.
Johnson made it pretty clear what happened at the end saying, “Yeah at the end, I – I guess next to the last restart, assuming it would be the last restart, I was lined up in fourth and I really felt like I had played things out in my mind and if I had pushed the 2 (Keselowski) to the front there wouldn’t have been enough time to get back by him so I thought my best opportunity was to get to his outside and hoped that a fellow Hendrick car, the 41 (Kurt Busch), would kind of fall in behind me and I could tow the lane, get around the 2 and I’d outside the lane and run down the 31 (Ryan Newman). I make my move, I got to his outside, look in the mirror and I got no friends. So that’s how plate racing goes.” He continued, “ I played with house money and lost.”
Kyle Busch got hit from behind by the No. 3 of Austin Dillon during a crash on the backstretch on lap 104. Busch spent many laps in the garage but still had a chance until the end when several drivers picked up spots eliminating Busch from the Chase.
Matt Kenseth advanced with a second place finish. Clint Bowyer ended the day in third. Landon Cassill had a fantastic day, leading a lap and finishing fourth in the No. 40 Carsforsale.com Chevrolet owned by Joe Falk. Ryan Newman also advanced to the Eliminator round with a fifth place finish.
Joe Falk also had another car in the top ten today with Travis Kvapil finishing sixth in the No. 33 Little Joe’s Autos Chevrolet.
Jeff Gordon was the only Hendrick Motorsports car to advance to the Eliminator round of the Chase.
The Eliminator round begins next Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.